The Museum displays archaeology from Harborough District dating from the Neolithic period which was around 4,500 years ago to 17th century objects linked to the English Civil War. The Market Harborough Historical Society’s collection includes more exotic archaeology from Egypt, Greece and Rome.
Amongst the oldest items on display are the beautiful ‘basket ornaments’ found by a metal detectorist in Gilmorton which date to c. 2,500 BC. These mysterious items are thought to be earrings or hair decorations. Their strange name refers to their shape. The impact of gold at this time must have been huge. Only important people in society would have been able to own a piece of gold worn as a symbol of their status.
These delicate and rare objects are among the earliest metal objects in Britain and are the oldest example of metalworking from Leicestershire. They are of a style previously known only from Iberia and a 19th century find from Ireland. This particular style is therefore not native to Britain.
Another notable discovery, aided by Channel 4’s Time Team, is the collection of Anglo-Saxon material from West Langton. A group of burials were found and whilst the skeletons had long since turned to dust, a fabulous selection of grave goods dating from the 6th century AD survived. Items displayed include an amber and glass bead necklace, bronze cruciform brooches and a silver-gilt equal arm brooch, hinting at high-status inhabitants of the area 1500 years ago.
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