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22 December 2014
Experts to examine rare Iron Age mirror

Some of the UK's top archaeologists will gather at the Oxfordshire Museum in early 2015 to help explain the secrets behind a rare Iron age mirror. The artefact was found in Didcot, 100 kilometres west-northwest of London by a metal detectorist who tried to export it to the United States. The British government intervened and the artefact was offered to the museum, who had to raise 33,000 pounds to buy and house it.
     Experts including Oxford University's Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology, Sir Barry Cuncliffe, and Senior Research Fellow and Head of Materials Science-based Archaeology, Dr Peter Northover, will host a special study day on the 7th of February to investigate the 2,000 year-old mirror.
     Some archaeologists believe the object may have had a ritual significance as well as a practical use. Mirrors were often found in Iron Age graves with the polished side facing towards the face of the deceased.
     David Moon, Curator of Archaeology for Oxfordshire Museums service said: "I think it's unknown for a museum to host an event of this kind. We want to make sure that everybody gets the chance to to see the mirror and do things to promote it as much as we can."
     Subjects covered in the study day will range from archaeo-metallurgy, to sacrifice and ritual, taking in artistic design and social structures along the way. There will also be a contribution from Oxford Archaeology, which will describe and discuss recent excavations at Great Western Park in Didcot.
     The museum has also commissioned a short film about the mirror, which will eventually be shown beside it in the museum.

Edited from Witney Gazette (12 December 2014)

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