On Friday 18th December 2020, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales was welcomed at Cirencester’s award-winning Corinium Museum by The Earl Bathurst, and Museum Director Amanda Hart. The museum, renowned for its Roman Cirencester collections and exhibits, is travelling further back in time with the intentionally darker and dramatic ‘Stone Age to Corinium’ galleries that showcase the fantastic artefacts of this period in new, and recently opened state-of-the-art galleries.
Amanda Hart guided His Royal Highness through these new galleries, and museum staff were on hand to explain the significance of the interactive exhibits and the artefacts within them. His Royal Highness was drawn to a collection of early Neolithic flint tools, the rare female Beaker Burial from the early Stone Age, and the early Roman cavalry tombstones. His Royal Highness was then shown the new Winstone Learning Centre, created within a Grade II Listed building, and staff explained how children are invited in to the Centre to become ‘archaeologists’.
His visit continued through the Hare Gallery, with its stunning Hare Mosaic, and then on through to the existing galleries, where objects from Roman Cirencester are displayed. These include the wonderful Hunting Dogs Mosaic and Four Seasons Mosaic as well as the magnificent Jupiter column. Amanda Hart explained the arrival of the newest acquisitions: an incredibly well-preserved Roman cockerel figurine, and the tombstone of Bodicacia, both rare finds from Cirencester. Finishing the tour, His Royal Highness was shown ‘Mrs Getty’s’ burial, so nicknamed by archaeologists because of the wealth and number of her grave goods.
HRH The Prince of Wales commented, “What a fascinating and remarkable collection you have here. I’ve been meaning to come here for some time, and I’m delighted to be here today.”
His Royal Highness completed his 40-minute tour, signing the Visitors’ Book, at which point he was presented with a bottle of Bodicacia Golden Ale, brewed locally by Corinium Ales in honour of the discovery of the Bodicacia tombstone.
Pictured: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in the Roman galleries and the Bodicacia tombstone
Amanda Hart, Museum Director summarised, “This was the greatest honour to be bestowed on the museum. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, with completing the galleries with most staff furloughed, coming out of lockdown two, and a launch that should have taken place back in the summer. We are grateful and thankful that HRH The Prince of Wales has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit us. Thank you. It was touch and go as to whether we could go ahead with the visit, and thankfully Gloucestershire has remained in Tier 2 and we were able to welcome His Royal Highness today.”