The Witham shield is recognised as one of the finest examples of Iron Age craftsmanship anywhere in Europe, and certainly ranks as one of the most famous artefacts from Lincolnshire's rich archaeological heritage. Discovered in the River Witham in 1826, the original bronze shield is now in the collections of the British Museum (though it did make a successful temporary return to its home county in 2013 - see our blog post here).
With the National Curriculum now recognising the importance of British prehistory, Lincolnshire's rich pre-Roman past is being brought to life by the museum's education team to thousands of school children every year. Their task will be made slightly easier in future thanks to an incredibly detailed and accurate reconstruction of the shield, made by Arts University Bournemouth student Tom Hughes as a final year project. Arts University Bournemouth has an international reputation for creative physical and digital modelmaking and Tom's exceptional skills are clear to see from the finished replica. Using reference material supplied by The Collection, including detailed images of the original shield and academic articles on its construction and potential original appearance, Tom has been painstaking in his attention to the tiniest details. The replica will allow children to truly appreciate the quality of the craftsmanship that went into producing the original shield 2,500 years ago, and to examine the difference between the shield as it survives today and how it originally looked with its wooden backing and applied decoration in the form of a spindly-legged boar.
Alongside our school education sessions, the shield will be making public appearances at the various family fun days and events that we host throughout the year. Keep checking our events and exhibitions pages or sign up to our e-newsletter to find out what exciting new things we're planning.
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