Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Romans again

Though Sainsbury's were out of dormice and garum sauce (you know the stuff, made from rotting fish) we successfully launched Roman Nottinghamshire at Nottingham University's nice little museum (www.nottingham.ac.uk/museum) which most people had not heard of, including some who had studied at the University. The good news is that the museum is moving to bigger and more public premises in the next year and a half and it might even have a retail facility. I'll vote for that. Residents of Southwell were there in numbers, not least supporters of the Save Roman Southwell campaign who think that the important remains recently discovered in the town would be best exploited other than by building more exceedingly expensive houses on top of them. The people vs. the developers again.

Many of the Roman exhibits on display at the museum turn up in the book, as do finds in several other local museums. There may not be much currently to see on the surface of Nottinghamshire from Roman times but there are beautiful objects of art, coin hoards, domestic equipment and rather a lot of pottery. The author, Mark Patterson, confessed a weariness about the pottery and wished that his 90,000 word book could have been longer if he had been allowed more space to talk about the interesting characters who spent so much of their lives digging up Roman Nottinghamshire, and, so often, completely misinterpreting what they found. He was at pains to say his book was a journalist's account of Roman Nottinghamshire not an archaeologist's account. What we wanted in other words. We wish he had more time on his hands so he could do Roman Derbyshire, Roman Leicestershire and gradually work his way to retirement and a shelf of books as good as his Nottinghamshire one. We are currently working with Mark to create a Roman Nottinghamshire website.

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