A Bronze Day

Bronze Age Technology

Saturday 4th or Sunday 5th March 2017

Dove Valley Centre, Longnor

Bronze dagger in Buxton Museum

The ability to work bronze changed our world 3,000 years ago. It took an edge and held it, finer and sharper than flint that chipped or chert that cracked. Bronze offered a new blade, a different weight, a certain shining glamour. Working bronze set us on a path that led to iron and eventually, well, us!

Upper Dove Valley - no snow for us we hope!

Upper Dove Valley – no snow for us we hope!

As part of the Collections in the Landscape Project, Buxton Museum has been working with ancient technology specialist James Dilley to review Stone and Bronze Age collections. James has done various public events with the museum but now we are offering an intensive day exploring those Bronze Age technologies. Under James’ expert guidance, participants will work with moulds, a charcoal furnace, bronze and copper and bellows to make their own bronze artefact to take home

  • tools, materials and protective equipment will be provided
  • this is a 1 day workshop repeated on the Sunday
  • participants must be 16 years of age or older
  • £50 per person includes lunch – advanced booking is essential
  • to book: call the museum on 01629 533540 during office hours
  • directions and further details sent nearer the time

Another March event:
Exploring Ancient Landscapes: a walk through time
Saturday 25th March 2017

(this event was published in the blog “Walking through time”)

Have you ever wondered what the grassy lumps in the field are, why the field hedge is where it is or what that old building was used for? Archaeologist and heritage interpreter Bill Bevan will help you identify and understand the clues from our past that survive in the landscape. The Hope Valley between Castleton and Hope is an excellent place to find these remains of the past. the day will begin by looking at historic maps before walking and talking in the landscape itself on a circular walk between the two villages.

Please note, the Museum is closed for redevelopment until May 2017

Dove Valley Centre

Dove Valley Centre

The end of the bones

Bone Detectives

for British Science Week

12th – 20th March 2016


There were bones, and teeth, there were skulls and even the fragmented paw of a cave lion. And there was time to look, to handle , turn over, touch, test a fingertip against a crocodile’s tooth.

the buffalo skull was very popular

the buffalo skull was very popular

Time to talk, wonder, ask and ask again and say, “No!” and “What’s a hyrax?” and

“This is a porpoise?”

“Where is the elephant’s trunk?”

“Can I pick this up? Oh. Can I pick that up? Good”


There were beautiful replica skulls for the slightly squeamish and gloves for the bolder – or for anyone who just wanted to look sort-of-scientific like they were on some police procedural drama

Skulls- long

For British Science Week, in a collaboration between Stone and Water, Buxton Museum’s Collections in the Landscape project and Creeping Toad, we ran a series of “Bone Detectives” workshops. These set out to introduce people to some basic skull features to look for and understand the clues they can give us about the original animal. The thought was that this would encourage people to look – to really open their eyes when they are out or maybe even to set off and do the hopeful walk they wouldn’t have done before


Skulls, skeletons or bits often turn up on walks over the moors of the Peak District, or perhaps are found by someone strolling in a casually acquisitive manner along a beach. We were looking for the questions (and their answers) that would set some inspired investigation in motion. We concentrated mostly on British mammal skulls – given time and the scope of vertebrate anatomy we had to draw some lines somewhere. But there were extension opportunities and as confidence grew, participants could move onto British bird skulls, a few exotic extras – a crocodile, assorted horns, replica hyrax, lynx and wallaby and a wide selection of shells including a spread of annoying cone shells (this one? That one? No, the other one? Why would you call something a geographical cone, for goodness sake”. There was even a d-i-y snake spine

Low BD 302

The workshops were a delight: from keenly questioning WATCH members to the surprise of casual visitors, workshops invite participation and challenged preconceptions. “But it’s so small! “ (same comment applied to rabbit, rat and squirrel skulls). People brought their own puzzles with them: beautfully delicate mouse and hedgehog skulls, a mysterious jaw bone (probably sheep), the museum added some mind-boggling teeth: woolly rhino and hyena.


The very bold in the museum went off to find the cave bear skull

Low Cave bear 2

We were pleased: these were sessions that maybe didn’t get quite the quiet, dedicated concentration we had imagined but they were sessions that got people handling material, talking, asking questions, feeling more confident.



Just to be clear, the skulls and shells we sued were all found materials or were already in established collections. Nothing was killed for the sake of this project


Reproduction skulls came from a wonderful online shop: CrimsonRichDesire

BSW2016RGBMID_BBLUEBMAG long logo 1 copyHigh Impact_2747

Bone detectives!


Discovering the secrets of the skulls

Orbit-2 copy

We are very excited to announce some delightfully bony workshops happening in March. As part of British Science Week, we are working with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Creeping Toad to offer a series of events and workshops exploring skulls. Stone and Water was awarded a BSW grant to support these workshops.

BSW2016RGBMID_BBLUEHere are the clues that will help you identify the mysterious skull you found on the beach or the bones on the moor, or perhaps here is simply the skills to exercise a fascination with ancient remains, old bones and hidden histories. We will guide visitors through the wonders of animal teeth, and horn cores, the marvels of eye sockets and tympanic bullae. We’ll even introduce you to scroll bones and senses of smells

“There are so many bones in so many animals,” said Gordon from Creeping Toad, “that we had to focus on something. So we are starting with skulls, especially mammal skulls. We’d like to invite people to look more closely at the skulls of Peak District mammals ( I suspect some birds might sneak in as well, and possibly a selection of sea shells…) and understanding the signs to look for and the questions to ask that will help you find out what the animal is and something about its life”

For the Museum, this is part of the Collections in the Landscape project, aiming to both remind people about the museum and its collections but also to get people out there in the Peaks, looking, thinking and wondering about the history of the places we visit. There will be skulls to handle (we’ll supply gloves if you’d rather) and quality replicas if you really don’t want to touch the actual bone (it will all be clean!), other bones to look at, some shells for a bit of the exotic. We’ll hold and think, question, count and scribble. There will be useful guide sheets to take away and drawings to do to build up your own forensic notes. And we’ll do a mystery quiz at the end….



Public event: Saturday  12th March 2016, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery : free public sessions: no booking needed just drop by and join in but give yourself 45 minutes for a good skeletal experience. Sessions 10 – 12 and 1 – 3

Youth group: we have one free workshop on offer for a group of young people in or around Buxton in the week of 12 – 20th March. Activity best suited for 8 – 12 year olds

A workshop introducing young people to exciting natural history forensics. If you are interested, please contact us at stoneandwater@btinternet.com

Venue and time: to suit you

Older group workshop: we will also be running a workshop with a limited number of places during the week. Date and time to follow. This will be a more formal session than the Saturday events, aimed at  young people and adults. Details to follow

Skulls 714 copy

Peak District creatures? or not?