28th July 2004

 

VIKING FINDS SAVED BY STUDENTS

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Viking-Age artefacts over a thousand years old have been saved thanks to students from the University of Lincoln.

 

And now scientists at the university want to use DNA testing to find out more about the origins of the objects.

 

Hull and East Riding Museum enlisted the help of the Conservation and Restoration Department at the University of Lincoln to conserve the unique finds which included braids of hair wrapped in wood, leather and metal and Viking-Age jewellery.

 

Third-year students were asked to stabilise the corrosion and clean the historical artefacts as part of their studies this year.  Students also designed a new packaging system in which the objects will be stored in on their return to the museum.

 

But before they are returned to the museum Dr Ron Dixon, principal lecturer in Forensic Science, will carry out ancient DNA analysis to find out the origins of the hair.

 

“The braids of hair are particularly remarkable as they are in an excellent state of preservation,” said Martin Foreman, assistant keeper of archaeology for Hull and East Riding Museum.  “This presents an opportunity for potential cutting-edge scientific research.”

 

The artefacts were discovered in 1900 at a burial mound in Russia.  They were then presented to the curator of Hull and East Riding Museum in 1902 and have remained in the museum’s collection ever since.

 

“The university has a good reputation with the Hull and East Riding Museum having worked on numerous objects such as ceramics, medieval leather and archaeological materials in the past,” said Chris Robinson, senior technician in Conservation and Restoration. 

 

“As part of the course students work on items from various museum collections, the National Trust, English Heritage and private owners.”

 

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For more information contact:

Lindsey Bird, Assistant Press Officer

01522 886625                                  lbird@lincoln.ac.uk

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