David's Monkish Meanderings 2010 travel blog

Flint handaxe (400,000 years old)

Bronze cauldron and fleshhook

Bronze helmet

Gold/silver alloy torc

Lindow man (or what's left of him!)

Contrary to Gershwin's song, it was not a foggy day in London town today, and I found that the British museum had lost none of its charm. Having joined the throngs looking at Egyptian mummies on my last visit (2007), today I wanted to focus on the history of Britain to help fill in the background to my historical travels over the next three weeks.

It's impossible to absorb it all, but a few things stick in my mind.

* A flint handaxe that's around 400,000 years old - the interesting thing for me, apart from getting my head around that time scale, is that it was found in Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, where my Crawley ancestors lived.

* A bronze cauldron and fleshhook from around 1000 - 700 BC. Partly it's the care and detail in the workmanship, but also the glimpse they give into domestic life. I wonder what foods were cooked in the cauldron?

* The unusual horned bronze helmet from around 100 BC - it might remind us of the Vikings, but its several hundred years earlier, and apparently the Vikings didn't wear horned helmets (that image comes from Victorian era operas!)

* The amazing torc comes from the same era and was found in a treasure hord (weighs 2 kg, made of electrum, an alloy of gold and silver).

* Lindow man - the preserved body of a man, possibly killed as a ritual sacrifice around 50 BC - 100 AD, found in a peat bog near Manchester.

* Etc, etc - fascinating stuff.

Tomorrow it's off to Norwich, stopping off to see Ely Cathedral on the way.

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