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Knutsford Heritage Centre Archaeology Exhibition

Exhibition 2003: Fact & Fantasy

Due to the recent opening of the Tapestry Gallery, this year’s attendance is thought to have exceeded 6000 people even though the exhibition ran to a strict 11 weeks from May Bank Holiday weekend to the first week in August.

We hope to stage a special exhibition next year to mark our 5th anniversary of exhibitions at Knutsford Heritage Centre. Watch this space!

Brought to you by Mark Olly & the CWP Archaeology & Living History Group.

This year’s exhibition focused on various time periods of Cheshire history using a “time clock” compass design to guide the public to the appropriate areas. Small information panels then told a “tall Tale” of Fantasy about the items displayed there, followed by the often-surprising truth.

The Stone Age was represented by ten of the oldest man made objects in Cheshire and an extremely rare positive footprint of the Cheshire dinosaur “Chirotherium” which the public were able to touch. The facts here told how we were not under ice during the Ice Age and that the footprints were not “dragons” as once thought! A cabinet of later Stone Age tools from the region was also on display showing just how clever our “primitive ancestors really were.

The Bronze Age was represented by a private collection of bronze tools donated by a metal detector and a collection of coins from the period including what is thought to be a British copy of a Greek coin for 650BC. Clearly the Romans did not introduce metal working or coinage to Britain. We were already ‘doing it for ourselves’.

Rome and the Dark Ages were covered by information panels exclusively revealing the recently discovered location of Roman and Danelaw fortifications in north Cheshire. The legend of Joesph of Arimathea and the Appleton Thorn, and the carved Viking ‘Cadishead Stones’. All surprising facts in themselves!

Medieval and Tudor times were revealed in the CWP Archaeology excavation reports and finds from moated sites in the Mersey Valley, many of which were displayed in a large floor cabinet. The civil War in Cheshire was re-created with a cabinet of reproduction equipment of the period and the dates of many unknown and surprising battles fought on Cheshire soil.

Commonwealth, Georgian and the Industrial Age were covered by more excavation finds and a giant cabinet display of over 100 Alice in Wonderland books connected through the Victorian and British Empire periods to 20th Century and Modern Times, where Cheshire history and legends appeared in rare copies of books by regional authors and a brand new ‘Celtic Well’ stage set complete with gargoyles. Here we discovered that the real Alice was not a cute blonde teenager in a blue dress, that Arthur’s sword may indeed have emerge from a stone and that fantasy stories often contain a great deal more hidden truth than we think.