The Museum of Somerset

Only a seriously geeky person of an astronomical bent would have made an entire day of a visit to the Museum of the Moon when it plopped down in the middle of Taunton Minster. We were there for less than an hour. There was plenty of time left to explore more of what the town had to offer. So we hopped on over to The Museum of Somerset. I’m so glad that we did. It holds an amazingly curated collection of ancient local objects. There’s the modern too like this ornately carved tree sculpture made from a felled Quantock oak.

There was an excitable school party visiting at the same time as us. No Westcountry museum is complete without a few fossils. It’s totally Jurassic around these parts. There was a plesiosaur slap bang in the middle of the ground floor. ‘Look ammonites!’ yelled a wannabe palaeontologist. Yep he’d spotted some big ones!

It was my turn to get excited when I spotted the massive, almost complete, mosaic excavated from the Lower Ham villa complex. I love it that the tesserae, the little tiles, were made from locally sourced materials. It is the oldest artifact in Britain to tell a complete story. Five panels record the tale of Dido and Aeneas. In this one they are sheltering under trees and their love affair begins. I had a similar encounter with a French exchange student in my teenage years!

Now this is the South Cadbury shield. It’s over three thousand years old and has over 6,000 stamped decorations. It’s less than 1mm thick so would have been absolutely useless in a battle scenario. Good job it was just decorative.

A kind room attendent pointed out the panels from the most ornate hen house ever. They must have been some spoilt chickens!

Let’s go macabre shall we? This carved piece of Ham stone was dug up from a churchyard and contained a heart. What happened to the rest of the body!

I was drawn to this little bronze face that may have adorned furniture at Cadbury Castle. He is the spit of the old man!

This has to be my favourite exhibit, a bronze Roman figurine of Capricorn that was found by detectorists in the Mendips. It’s quite a recent find from 2012. Imagine the joy from digging this out of the ground.

Even thought Hot Stuff was an admirable companion I felt the absence of someone during our trip. The Museum of Somerset was the type of place that I usually visit with Aril from Gnat Bottomed Towers. She would have loved it!

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