1. Hazelton Long Barrow
The 50-metre long, roofed, stone-built tomb was constructed over 4,500 years ago, and was probably used for several generations. It would have been re-opened to add fresh burials. Hazelton was excavated in 1981 and was found to contain the bones of 39 people.
2. Poulton Gold and Tool Hoard
This remarkable assemblage of gold pieces and bronze objects was found in nearby Poulton. It dates from around 1300 B.C. Much of the gold had been deliberately cut up from larger objects, such as pieces of personal jewellery.
3. Tombstone of Genialis
Genialis conquers the enemy! The conventional design commemorates the cavalryman and emphasizes the irresistible power of the Roman Army. Over to the right the tombstone of Dannicus is more evidence that early Corinium was a cavalry station. Both stones might once have been painted.
4. The Mosaics Collection
The Museum is famed for its mosaics. Chief among these are four fine (though damaged) mosaic floors, each with striking picture panels set within patterned borders. This menacing tiger from ‘The Orpheus’ mosaic hints at both the Romans’ fascination with exotic animals and their love of brutal spectacle.
5. The ‘Jupiter’ Column
Best seen from the Upper Gallery,this capitol (or top) has an original carving of the Greek god Bacchus and his drunken companions. The rest of the column has been reconstructed, and gives a hint of the size and grandeur of Roman public building even in a distant part of the Empire.
6. Mother Goddesses
(Iron Age/Early Roman)
See this in the Upper Gallery. The fruit and bread in their baskets help to identify these carved figures. Perhaps they were objects of prayer to provide a plentiful harvest with food on the table all year round. Nearby is the ‘Christian’ wall-plaster acrostic.
7. Great Square-headed Brooch
This was found with the richest burial at Lechlade’s Anglo-Saxon cemetery. The woman had been arrayed in all her finest adornments before being laid in the coffin. Look at the reconstruction to see where each item was placed on or around her.
8. A Painted Angel
This figure is one of ten carved faces associated with Cirencester Abbey. It has traces of the original colouring on the stone, and reminds us that most Medieval churches once contained much painting. On display just above is another female head, perhaps a representation of the Virgin Mary.
9. John Coxwell’s Portrait
An old man looks directly at us. Now aged nearly 100, he is dressed in costly black and carries what appears to be a prayer book. During his life, wool had made him rich; and the wool trade had brought the wealth to build churches and grand houses throughout the Cotswolds.
10. Civil War Coin Hoard
Hundreds of silver coins (and two of gold) were buried to keep them safe as marauding armies caused fear and uncertainty. Was this money hidden from Parliament or the Cavaliers, and why did the owner never come to reclaim his wealth? We are unlikely ever to know!