If you dig archaeology this is the place to delve deeper into the past.
We hold all archaeological objects from sites excavated in and around Coventry. There are over 8,600 small finds and vast quantities of pottery. They are used for research, exhibitions and lifelong learning.
The majority of the collection comprises bulk finds. These are pottery, animal bone and architectural stonework. Pottery tells archaeologists about what people ate out of and the bones tell us what they ate. We hold Bronze Age to post-medieval pottery with good collections from the Anglo Saxon, Roman and medieval periods. Examples from all periods are on display in the Herbert's galleries. The collections also include shoes, buckles, pins, keys, window glass and lace chapes to name a few.
Highlights of the collection include finds from the Lunt Roman fort which was occupied from around 60 to 80 AD. This was a cavalry training centre and the finds reflect this, including horse harness fittings and bits from soldier's equipment including armour fragments.
Baginton cemetery where the Anglo Saxon population buried their dead has revealed a wealth of artefacts, from the cremation pots themselves to personal dress items such as gilded brooches and beads.
Coventry developed rapidly during the medieval period as trade and commerce grew encouraged by the guilds. Collections include domestic items, for example, candlesticks, a toilet seat and coins. However the collections are dominated by the church excavations of Whitefriars during the 1960s and the Benedictine Priory, dug between 1999 and 2002. These two sites revealed painted stonework, tiles, brooches and even fragments of bronze funerary effigies as well as parchment prickers and buttons.
We also have a small Egyptian collection comprising shabtis, parts of a mummy mask and faience beads.