Ques­tions ga­lore on an­cient an­chor

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - STANDARD VIEW -

Sharon Lip­trott

An an­cient an­chor found six feet un­der­ground dur­ing drain dig­ging in the 1880s has in­spired a new ex­hi­bi­tion at An­nan Mu­seum.

The ex­hi­bi­tion ‘Ro­man In­vaders in the Sol­way’ takes a closer look at the mystery an­chor which was dis­cov­ered at Pri­est­side near An­nan and is rare ev­i­dence of early sea­far­ing around the coast­line of Dum­fries and Gal­loway.

It is also a chance to see the amaz­ing con­ser­va­tion work by Will Mur­ray, of The Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tion Stu­dio, which has en­sured the Pri­est­side An­chor will be pre­served for decades.

Mu­seum’s of­fi­cer Fiona Wil­son said: “Over the years ex­perts have de­bated the an­chor’s ori­gins and for a long time it was as­sumed to be Ro­man and was dis­played at Dum­fries Mu­seum.

“But re­cent stud­ies have again ques­tioned the an­chor’s ori­gins.

“The ex­hi­bi­tion in­vites vis­i­tors to dis­cover what is know about the an­chor and to con­sider its true ori­gins.”

Coun­cil­lor Andy Fer­gu­son, chair­man of com­mu­ni­ties, said: “The ar­chae­ol­ogy col­lec­tion of the Dum­fries and Gal­loway Coun­cil Mu­seum has recog­ni­tion sta­tus which means that it is of na­tional im­por­tance. The Pri­est­side an­chor has at­tracted the at­ten­tion of in­ter­na­tional re­searchers.”

Last year, ma­rine ar­chae­ol­o­gist Daniel Claggett set out to com­pare an­cient an­chors used in North­ern Europe from AD 750–1300, af­ter the time of Ro­man oc­cu­pa­tion in Scot­land and dur­ing the time of Vik­ing raids.

As part of his project he looked for an­chors that had sur­vived in mu­seum col­lec­tions so that he could study their shape, size and char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Although the Pri­est­side an­chor was listed as “Ro­man”, re­searchers have queried this and Daniel in­cluded it in his study in case it might be from the later Vik­ing age.

Vis­i­tors to the ex­hi­bi­tion will be able to look at Daniel’s find­ings and other work done to con­serve the an­cient iron an­chor for the fu­ture.

The free ex­hi­bi­tion – which runs un­til Oc­to­ber 31 and can be viewed Mon­day to Satur­day, 11am to 4pm – also fea­tures back­ground in­for­ma­tion on the Ro­mans at sea, Ro­man oc­cu­pa­tion of Scot­land and the Iron Age peo­ple and tech­nol­ogy they en­coun­tered.

An­nan Mu­seum is host­ing a free talk, open to all, by Ro­man his­to­rian Dr John Reid and con­ser­va­tor Will Mur­ray on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 11, at 6.30pm.

They will present ev­i­dence of use of boats by the Ro­mans around the coast of Scot­land and the re­cent study that com­pared an­cient an­chors, plac­ing the Pri­est­side an­chor in con­text. The talk will be fol­lowed by re­fresh­ments and an op­por­tu­nity to view the ex­hi­bi­tion.

On Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 18, master pot­ter Gra­ham Tay­lor will be of­fer­ing chil­dren the op­por­tu­nity to find out how the Ro­mans used ce­ramic pots to store and trans­port all sorts of goods. Chil­dren can also make their own “Ro­man” pot to take home.

Book­ing is es­sen­tial at 01461 201384. Ma­rine ar­chae­ol­o­gist Daniel Claggett has been com­par­ing an­cient an­chors used in North­ern Europe from AD 750–1300

Close look

Steady­ing the ship An artist’s im­pres­sion of how the Pri­est­side An­chor would have worked in fish­ing on the Sol­way

Test­ing Will Mur­ray of The Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tion Stu­dio weaves his magic on the an­chor that holds so much mystery

Look­ing the part Si­mon Lid­well re-en­acts an Irn Age smith at An­nan Mu­seum

Fas­ci­nat­ing... Mu­se­ums as­sis­tant Joanne Turner with an­cient an­chor

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