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Collecting Coventry

Collecting Coventry explores a catalogue of objects managed by Culture Coventry Trust, that reflect 75 years of collecting efforts.

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Covering art, archaeology, natural sciences and social and industrial history, the Herbert holds a range of incredible collections. Explore what we have in store through this fascinating exhibition packed full of objects and curiosities, from a 4.5 billion year old meteorite to a Covid testing kit. Visit old favourites like LS Lowry’s superb painting of Ebbw Vale and discover new items being shown for the first time.

The Herbert aims to represent people and communities from Coventry in our collections. In Collecting Coventry, we want to know your views on what we should collect, how we can represent you and your community better, how we can help with your wellbeing and how technology could improve your visit. Explore the exhibition and then give us your feedback.

Keep an eye out for exciting new content on our website and Smartify app as well as the Herbert’s podcast.


Featured in Collecting Coventry: Ogham Stone


Whilst the country was in lockdown in May 2020, Coventry local Graham Senior (pictured left) was passing the time by gardening, when he came upon an unusual looking rock.

The rock, at around 11cm in length, appeared to have several horizontal incisions along the side. Senior shared his discovery with the Portable Antiquities Scheme, also known as, who confirmed that the stone was inscribed with ogham, an Early Irish language dating back over 1,600 years.



Senior said: “...It caught my eye as I was clearing an overgrown part of the garden. At first, I thought it was some kind of calendar. Finding out later it was an ogham stone and over 1,600 years old was incredible.”

Ogham was an alphabet used in the Early Medieval period primarily for writing in the early Irish language. Before the people of Ireland began using manuscripts made from vellum, they used the ogham writing system to inscribe on materials such as stone. Ogham is highly unusual among world writing systems, consisting solely of parallel lines in groups of 1-5. The stones provide insight into the Irish language before the use of the Latin insular script.


Visitors can see it on display in ‘Collecting Coventry’ until 27 April 2025.

Image 1: Graham Senior with the ogham stone | Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. |  Image 2: Ogham stone on display in Collecting Coventry | Garry Jones

Ogham Stone Facts:



Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: EARLY MEDIEVAL  
Subperiod to: Early
Date from: Circa AD 400
Date to: Circa AD 500

Dimensions and weight:

Quantity: 1
Length: 110 mm
Width: 38 mm
Thickness: 19 mm
Weight: 139 g


Image: Herbert Art Gallery & Museum