Choosing Leeds objects for ‘Roman Empire: Power and People’

As part of the British Museum touring exhibition ‘Roman Empire: Power and People’, which is at Leeds City Museum 20th Sept – 4th Jan, we decided to highlight some of our own Roman collections. 
 Many of our fantastic Roman objects are already on display in Leeds City Museum, both in the Ancient Worlds and the Story of Leeds galleries, but we have collected many more objects since these galleries opened and we want to tell different stories in ‘Roman Empire’.
Marble head of a satyr, 100-50 BC, collected in 1896
from Lord Savile’s excavations at Lanuvium, Italy
Firstly we integrated local objects into the existing themes of the exhibition, and objects from Yorkshire are highlighted throughout so visitors can easily spot them. A beautiful fantail brooch from Wattle Syke sits alongside several brooches from the British Museum’s collection. 
 Altars from Adel and Chapel Allerton fit into the wider theme of religious beliefs, as does a silver ring depicting Fortuna found by a metal detector user in Micklefield. These displays are also complemented by objects from The Yorkshire Museum’s collection, which root these larger ideas about the empire to Yorkshire objects.
Fantail brooch, AD 70-130, from recent excavations
at Wattle Syke, West Yorkshire
In the introductory area of the gallery there is also a display about the how Leeds Museums and Galleries collected all of this Roman stuff in the first place. It looks at 19th century collecting by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, and at what Roman material we collect today.

We hope that by highlighting our local Roman heritage, visitors will engage more with the wonderful objects on display from across the Roman Empire, and embrace the Roman period as part of our shared history.
By Archaeology Curator Katherine Baxter

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