A new exhibition is about to open in St. Andrews showcasing recent discoveries and celebrating some of the most fascinating archaeological finds from our very own Kingdom.
If you were in any doubts about the beauty of Fife, the Treasures of the Kingdom exhibition, soon to open at the St. Andrews Museum, will alleviate those instantaneously. By drawing together ornamental pieces from brooches to badges and rings to urns, the exhibition seeks to celebrate our decorative heritage and prove that Fife is rife with archaeological beauty.
Treasures of the Kingdom is curated by fourteen St. Andrews postgraduates as part of their Museum and Gallery Studies course. With no more to go on than ‘Archaeology in Fife’, the team chose to explore decoration and adornment after searching through the collections at the St. Andrews Museum. “A lot of the objects we are exhibiting are relatively new”, Alix, part of the postgrad team, informs me, “some having been discovered in the last few years, therefore never displayed to an audience so far”. With newly collected objects, displayed together for the first time, the exhibition is an innovation with regards to the cultural heritage of Fife.
The collection covers a vast time period from Neolithic to the late Middle Ages with a diverse assortment of materials and decoration including Pictish stone carvings and a particularly beautiful skeleton ring. Through this variation, the exhibition seeks to explore the changes in decorative style through history while focusing on the aims of the objects and their role in everyday life e.g. Pilgrim’s badges, cinerary urns, jewellery and weapons.
Alongside the exhibition, the team have organised both creative and informative events. These include talks on archaeology in Fife, 3D printing workshops explaining how this new technique of jewellery making can inform the past, opportunities to make your own 3D printed replicas and the chance to handle some of the objects- all for free I must add.
When I asked what the team wanted people to take from the exhibition, Alix humbly stated that she hoped students and locals from the Fife area would, “be willing to discover the history of their county but also of different archaeological techniques”. With such a diverse and fascinating collection its difficult not to be willing to get involved in the unearthing of our decorative heritage.
The Treasures of the Kingdom exhibition opens on the 14th of March and runs through to the 17th of May.
For more information on the project, the events and for a sneak preview of some of the objects (including that amazing skeleton ring) visit the website.