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New Exhibits at Gibraltar National Museum

New Exhibits at Gibraltar National Museum Image

On Thursday morning, Minister for Heritage John Cortes visited the new exhibits at the Gibraltar National Museum. These displays will be viewable by the public at the museum’s open day, this Saturday, 1st June, from 10 am until 6 pm.

Two display cases show the richness and diversity of artefacts excavated and found in Gibraltar. One case highlights a restored antler of a red deer. This antler was in a fragmented and deteriorated state when it was excavated from the Neanderthals’ Grotto last summer. It has taken many months for museum conservator, Nelia Bonillo, to restore the piece and now it is being exhibited for the first time. Also in the exhibit are large limpets brought to the site by the Neanderthals and these are part of a study by Dr Alex Menez of the Gibraltar National Museum. Dr Stewart Finlayson, who co-ordinates the scientific work at the site, explained that the recently received results of dating the level in which the piece was found, indicate that the antler was left at the site sometime between 100 and 103 thousand years ago.

Professor Geraldine Finlayson explained that the second display reflected the work done on a daily basis during the course of archaeological watching briefs. These briefs were co-ordinated internally by Mr Tyson Lee Holmes. Gibraltar’s urban environment was a rich one and, thanks to the new heritage legislation, many items were being recovered. Archaeologists Mark Reddington and Brielle Gafan, who carry out the watching briefs, then explained the various artefacts on display, from 14th Century Merinid ceramics to crockery from the 1970s. Of particular note were ceramics probably dating to the capture of Gibraltar in 1704.

Safeguarding our cultural heritage is an important part of the legislation and planning process. The physical assets – whether buildings, monuments or archaeological remains - are a material consideration (i.e. something that matters).

The precise archaeological requirements are determined by The Ministry for Heritage as advised by the Government Archaeologist, Dominic Lopez.

Also on display were two recently acquired 19th Century watercolours. One was a view from Beefsteak Cave by Frederick Leeds Edridge dating to 1832 and donated by the Nevill family in the UK. The other was a late 19th Century depiction of the convict hulk, Owen Glendower, by James Lewis Holloway and donated by Professor Larry Sawchuk of Toronto, Canada.

Commenting on the displays, Professor Cortes said, "Once again our National Museum proudly presents our fascinating Heritage for all to see. These displays show once again the value of the work at Gorham’s Cave World Heritage Site, but also validates the importance of archaeological watching briefs such are required in all construction sites today as they can reveal so much of our past".

Published: May 31, 2024

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