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Bristol Museum and Art Gallery has several million objects in its archaeology collections. They include material that illustrates human activity from earliest times to the present day: from prehistoric stone tools to Victorian potties.
- Material from Acton Court - front hall balcony.
- Bristol 17th century pottery - ceramics gallery.
- The Thornbury coin hoard, over 11,000 Roman coins - front hall
- 350 objects of all periods are on display at M Shed.
Antiquarian collections and amateur archaeology:
The collection started in 1825 and is still growing. Most objects collected during the 19th century came from individual collectors and amateur archaeologists.
Since the 1990s, most material has come from professional archaeological fieldwork taking place in South Gloucestershire and the city of Bristol. Each archaeological site creates an archive made up of paperwork and finds. These archives range in size from 1 box to 100s of boxes and need to be organised according to Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives Conditions of Acceptance for Archaeological Archives (pdf, 453 KB)(opens new window). Between 100 to 150 different sites are recorded and eventually deposited with us each year.
The collection contains items of local, regional and national importance. Our current collecting area covers the City and County of Bristol and South Gloucestershire. We are adding to our collections all of the time and the museum now has a strict acquisitions policy, which governs what we collect and how we collect it.
The collections are an important record of past human activity in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire areas. Work on the collections by staff, scientists, academics and the public contributes to the modern study of archaeology. The collections are available to all as a resource.
Anyone can see the collections behind the scenes by making an appointment.
Staff also run an enquiry service: our enquiry day is on the last Wednesday of every month.
Please book an appointment with reception 0117 922 3571.
The department runs regular activities and events at M Shed, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and Kings Weston Roman Villa. View all museum events including Archaeology events in the Events Online listings or contact us for more information.
Archaeology Day Schools
Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives run a series of Archaeology Day Schools. Each day school provides an introduction to an archaeological subject and combines presentations and tours with practical sessions and exercises. Sessions are led by experienced museum staff and include the chance to explore museum collections. View the Archaeology day schools events page or search the individual workshops within Event's Online.
Senior Collections Officer - Archaeology
Tel: 0117 922 3587