Curator's Choice: The Abingdon Museum
Wednesday 10 August 1994
It completely changed our idea of the 'Dark Ages'. Previously we had thought the Romans had left and then, to use the style of 1066 and All That, nothing much happened for a few hundred years. But this excavation proved that the people who carried on living in the area were actually quite sophisticated and did not live a barbaric way of life. I have the impression of a man who was not only a fighter but someone who was sensitive enough to enjoy music.
The second object is a smock (detail shown above) commonly worn by men while working on the land and gives a similar glimpse into someone's life. It is made of linen and is very highly embroidered with different kinds of imagery, including flowers, national emblems and mottos. It was designed for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and was sewn by two sisters called Esther and Hannah Stimpson. What always strikes me is how close all the needlework is without the aid of electric light. It makes me curious about these two ladies. Both the lyre and the smock give snapshot pictures into people's lives and make them rounded characters instead of just stereotypes.
Emily Leach is the Senior Museums officer in the Vale Area. The Abingdon Museum (in association with Oxfordshire County Council), the County Hall, Market Place, Abingdon, Oxfordshire (0235 523703). Tues-Sun 11am-5pm
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 2 iPhone 7 (or iPhone 6S) leaked pictures show similarities to older model — but Apple is fixing the biggest issue of all
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Alwaleed bin Talal: Saudi Prince to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Amy, film review: Beautiful film reveals ugly truth behind singer's downward spiral
'Dukes of Hazzard' pulled from screens by CBS as outcry over Confederate flag grows
London Has Fallen trailer release branded 'extremely insensitive' ahead of 10th anniversary of 7/7 bombings
What if Nicolas Cage played every character in Game of Thrones?
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert