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21 May 2006
Bronze Age body at silver celebration

Plans to display Wincanton's 'oldest resident' at an anniversary celebration may have to be scrapped. Wincanton Museum (Somerset, England) celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and preparations are underway to mark the event. However, Wincanton and District Museum and History Society is concerned that the star attraction, the remains of a Bronze Age man discovered in the town in 1870, may not be able to make the party. The body, which includes the skull, is currently kept at Somerset County Museum in Taunton, but its importance and fragility means permission may be refused for it to return to Wincanton.
     Jeff Kingaby, secretary of the society, said: "We are hoping that the town's oldest 'resident' will return to the town to celebrate the museum's anniversary. A lot depends on whether we can get the Bronze Age man. If we can, we will extended the museum's opening times to give people the chance to see it." Stephen Minnitt, head of the county museum, said: "We would love to support Wincanton Museum in its celebration and we are happy with the principle of the loan. We are currently in discussion and the main issue is that there is a suitable security case to house the items. These items are fragile and are considered important archaeological finds." John Atkins, curator of Wincanton Museum, said: "If we can, we would hope to keep it at the museum until the end of the season.
     The remains were found in a now-disused limestone quarry on Windmill Farm when workers broke through stone and discovered the skeleton seven feet below the ground, along with one of the largest beaker-shaped pots to be found in Britain, pieces of stag antler and a flint scarper. The finds have been dated to around 2000 BCE, the era that the main monument at Stonehenge is thought to have been constructed.
     Wincanton Museum's anniversary celebrations take place from Wednesday to Wednesday 19-26 July.

Source: Western Gazette (18 May 2006)

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