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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Rare Artefacts Go on Display for First Time in New Exhibitions in Lewis

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Rare objects representing thousands of years of island life, from the Neolithic to the Viking Age, go on display this week in Lewis.

More than 40 artefacts on loan from National Museums Scotland, including some displayed for the first time, feature in new exhibitions at Comunn Eachdraidh Nis and the Kinloch Historical Society Museum.

Axe heads, Lewis, 3800 – 2500 BC. © National Museums Scotland

The artefacts were discovered at sites across Lewis and include a unique, complete 2500-year-old pot from Allt Cleascro, Achmore, found buried deep in peat, and an exceptionally rare example of pre-Viking Age Scandanavian craftsmanship.

The intricately decorated bronze mount was converted into a buckle during the Viking period and worn on its journey to Scotland.

Brought together for the first time the objects provide an insight into the island’s deep past, revealing how people have lived and thrived in this area for thousands of years.

Na Dorsan opened at Comunn Eachdraidh Nis on 24th of April, and charts the history of the Galson area.

The objects, discovered on the Galson coastline, tell the fascinating story from the first farmers in the area, some 6000 years ago, through to the arrival of Vikings on the island. 

Opening today, Archaeology Homecoming at the newly accredited Kinloch Historical Society Museum, also raises awareness of the area’s rich archaeology.

The exhibition highlights remarkable finds like the Achmore pot, and significant features within the local landscape such as Sidival Stone circle.

Scandanavian cast gilded bronze mount, Lewis. © National Museums Scotland

Dr Fraser Hunter, Principal Curator of Prehistory and Roman Archaeology at National Museums Scotland, said:

‘It’s been a real treat collaborating on these exhibitions with our colleagues in Nis and Kinloch.

“These objects help bring the distant past to life, from elegant bone tools from Galson that show the craft skills of the Iron Age to the remarkable Viking-period bronze mount from Ath Linne, which is a unique find for Scotland.” 

Anne Macleod, Operations Manager at Comunn Eachdraidh Nis, said:

“This year marks 100 years since the re-settling of Galson, following a period of clearance and unrest. 

“This exhibition launch will be the first in a series of community events to celebrate the centenary, culminating in the unveiling of a stone monument by Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn later this year.

“Comunn Eachdraidh Nis is delighted to be working alongside National Museums Scotland and Museum nan Eilean to create this new exhibition, displaying items found in Galson, on loan from both museums.”

Anna MacKenzie, Heritage Manager at Kinloch Historical Society, said:

“The partnership with National Museum of Scotland is at the heart of sharing and learning about the history of our area.

“The advice, training and support we have been able to access through this partnership has been essential to brining this exhibition to Kinloch Museum.

“As the name Archaeology Homecoming suggests this will be the first time these chance finds will be on display in Lochs, and we are grateful to all who have contributed to make this important exhibition possible.”

These loans are part of National Museums Scotland’s National Strategy, which sees collections and expertise shared through loans, participation in national projects, community engagement, funding for acquisitions and free knowledge and skills development opportunities for museums across Scotland.

Over 2500 objects are currently on loan to Scottish organisations, bringing the National Collection to audiences across the country. 

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