The Bowes Museum > Exhibitions > 2016 > All That Glitters Is Not Gold!

Cataractonium: Unearthing Life in a Roman Town


26 November 2016 – 5 March 2017

An in-focus display of artefacts found by an archaeological team of around 60 people that have been working along the A1 between Leeming Bar and Barton for three years as part of a Highways England scheme to install an extra lane in each direction and improve the route to motorway standards.

During that time, archaeologists working on behalf of the Carillion Morgan-Sindall Joint Venture have uncovered more than 200,000 prehistoric and Roman artefacts and sieved more than 86 tonnes of sediment samples.

Recent finds include a rare carved gemstone depicting Hercules and the Lion, and coins, as well as two apparently gold plated Roman objects causing great excitement onsite. However, scientific analysis proved that, despite their glittering appearance, in fact the boot spur was brass plated and the brooch bronze plated - a mixture of metals perhaps created intentionally to appear 'gold'. It is unusual to recover finds with a copper content retaining their original gold/bronze colouring, which is usually lost to a pale green/blue corrosion as the metal deteriorates in the ground. Nevertheless, sometimes the colour is preserved as it would have appeared nearly 2000 years ago, so we can experience them exactly as the Romans would have. You will be able to see them for the first time in their own special case in this display.

Related Events


People & their things: everyday & special finds from the Roman town of Catterick - Drop In Activities

25 February, 10.00 - 4.00

People & their things: everyday & special finds from the Roman town of Catterick - Drop In Activities Between 10.00 – 4.00, there will be drop in activities including making a Roman helmet, a mosaic tile and a Roman coin, and between 11.00 – 3.00 a chance to handle real Roman objects with NAA. These sessions are free for children, who must be accompanied by an adult for whom normal admission applies.

People & their things: everyday & special finds from the Roman town of Catterick

25 February, 2.30

People & their things: everyday & special finds from the Roman town of Catterick

Join Northern Archaeological Associates (NAA) for an engaging talk for all ages about the artefacts they found during a major project to upgrade the A1. There’ll also be a chance to see some of the objects up close. This event complements the current display Cataractonium: Unearthing Life in a Roman Town. Suitable for age 7+, who must be accompanied by an adult for whom normal admission applies.

 


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The Bowes Museum grounds are open!


Due to the government announcement on Thursday 17 December, that County Durham is to remain in COVID tier 3 restrictions, The Bowes Museum unfortunately will remain closed to all visitors. However, the grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 - 4.00 daily, and we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, two spring trails and outdoor guided tours are available from 29 March 2021.

As we have already been shut for a number of weeks and there is much uncertainty around possible further restrictions, we have decided to use this period to undertake some work in Café Bowes, alongside performing some much-needed structural repairs to the building, notably to the windows. January and February are usually quieter times for the Museum, often due to severe weather, so we believe that this is the best time to carry out such works with the least amount of disruption to our visitors.

We have therefore decided to remain closed for a period of four weeks following any near-future tier 2 announcement from the government, as this will allow us time to deep clean the Museum prior to reopening our doors once again. We will, of course, keep you updated as the guidelines change.

Your ongoing support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated and we very much look forward to welcoming you back into the building as early as possible in 2021.

We hope to be able to offer a few COVID-safe outdoor events over the coming months, about which we shall make further announcements as soon as possible.