Archaeology

ARCHAEOLOGY_01

Elgin Museum has an extensive collection of local archaeology, telling Moray’s story from the arrival of people in the Mesolithic period (around 8000 BC) to the Picts (3rd – 9th Centuries AD). More recent acquisitions are the consequence of research excavations, for example at Birnie, by Dr Fraser Hunter of National Museums Scotland, and through Treasure Trove allocations of objects discovered by metal detectorists and during development & infrastructure works.
What will we see on display?

In the Rear Gallery, you will find themed displays of artefacts arranged chronologically and a Time Line to help understand the sequence. In addition, there are cabinets of smaller objects, with further cabinets upstairs.

Some highlights:

The Birnie Hoard – a changing display of objects on loan from National Museums Scotland from Dr Fraser Hunter’s excavations at nearby Birnie, including two Roman silver coin hoards. During 2016 the objects have been returned to Edinburgh to undergo further research.

The second of the two coin hoards found at Birnie.

The second of the two coin hoards found at Birnie.

 

Pictish and Early Medieval carved stones from Kinneddar / Drainie (Lossiemouth), the Burghead Bulls, and the newly acquired Class I Pictish Stone from Dandaleith (Craigellachie).

Pictish and Early Medieval Carved Stones

Pictish and Early Medieval Carved Stones

 

Neolithic stone balls – enigmatic objects from the prehistoric North East, but what was their purpose?

Carved Stone Balls

Carved Stone Balls

 

The Early Bronze Age cist from Roseisle, home to the skeleton of the tallest known man from this period in Scotland.

Roseisle Man

Roseisle Man

 

Sculptor’s Cave, Covesea – finds relating to the 1928-1930 excavations carried out by local classical archaeologist Miss Sylvia Benton, which is why they are displayed in the alcove “Where are the Women of History?”. On display are three cervical (neck) vertebrae demonstrating beheadings in the Iron Age (around 240 AD).

Cabinets of new finds – allocated by the Treasure Trove panel, including objects from the site excavated by Dr Fraser Hunter at nearby Clarkly Hill.

Finds from Clarkly Hill

Finds from Clarkly Hill

What about new finds?

We have a clear acquisition policy, and for archaeology this would normally restrict us to acquiring objects with a specific link with Moray. Since we are an Accredited museum, we are able to bid for and be allocated objects through the Treasure Trove process. We have a limited budget for this through the generosity of donors to our Acquisition and Conservation Fund and contributions from the National Fund for Acquisitions. We recognise our indebtedness to local metal detectorists for their reporting and donation of finds in the furtherance of our knowledge of Moray’s story.

Research and the Archaeology collection

We welcome visits and enquiries from researchers, students or anyone with a special interest. Objects, those on display and in the stores, can by viewed in detail by appointment – please contact us by email for more information.  More information on research undertaken on objects in the Museum’s collection can be found on our Research page.

Reporting your finds

If you have, or have found, an object of possible archaeological interest, please contact us by email or visit us at the Museum where we will try to help. Any finds should also be reported to the Treasure Trove unit, a process which Museum staff can assist with.

Questions?

We welcome enquiries about archaeology. The staff and volunteers at Elgin Museum will try to answer your questions, if necessary referring to the various specialists who have research links with the Museum. Email or ask to speak with the volunteer Archaeology Representative, who is also our contact with Moray Council’s delegated Archaeology Service at Aberdeenshire Council, and is the first point of contact in the Museum for any academic or commercial archaeologists active in Moray and the person to ask if you are interested in getting involved in archaeology.

 

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