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TO celebrate its 250th anniversary this year the British Museum is rolling out a series of events, including the re-opening of the restored King’s Library, a gift from George III, while later this year a new exhibition, Treasure: Finding Your Past, is sure to be a crowd-puller, focusing on significant discoveries by ordinary folk that have changed our view of the past. It celebrates the finds of ramblers, beachcombers, labourers, ploughmen and retired schoolteachers, and will include one of the greatest-ever finds of Roman treasure, 15,000 coins and 200 gold and silver objects, in Hoxne, Suffolk, in 1992, chanced upon by a man looking for a hammer.

Barry Marsden is a retired lecturer in history and archaeology, and for the latest in his Discovering Regional Archaeology series he has written a 144-page guide to the museums, sites, monuments, and artefacts that document life in prehistoric and Roman England by visiting earthworks, monuments and other structures. The author suggests spending time in museums to relate excavated objects to their sources, and to place tools, weapons, pottery, and religious and decorative items in context. Good value and well illustrated at £15, the book covers Ages Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Bronze, plus the Neolithic Age, the Iron Age and the Roman period.

The chapter on the Roman period is perhaps the richest. One of the illustrations here is of the first British war cemetery, found in the 1930s, a Celtic war cemetery at Maiden Castle hillfort near Dorchester, after the storming of the stronghold by the II Legion in 44AD. The bodies of the dead defenders were hastily thrust into speedily dug grave pits, with offerings of food and drink. Many bore evidence of sword cuts or spear wounds, and one skeleton had an iron bolt embedded in his spine.

There is a three-page list of museums to visit, which includes the Roman Legionary Museum at Newport and the Alexander Keiller Museum at Avebury.