From the News and Star
By Keir Mudie
A NEW exhibition at Tullie House reveals Carlisle’s rich history through objects from Roman and Viking times.
Interactive exhibits, floor maps and touchable objects help bring to
life the hundreds of excavations that have taken place in the city
during the last 30 years.
Staff at the museum are expecting record numbers of visitors to come and enjoy the exhibition, which opened yesterday.
Keeper of archaeology Tim Padley said: “Archaeology is not just about objects – it is about people.
“I would be very disappointed if visitors left this exhibition without
having got a feeling for the everyday lives of people who lived in
“There are all sorts of fascinating objects for people to see and
touch. One of my favourites is an amber ring from Roman times, probably
dating from around 122AD.
“It is an incredible piece. It would have been carved from a huge block of amber and worn as a luxury item.
“It was sold with the claim that it could invoke ‘good dreams’.
“The Romans were a very superstitious people – yet they still managed to conquer most of the known world.
“Another of the objects that we have on display is a blue glass chariot cup.
“This is a souvenir item, bought for someone or by someone who was a
big fan of chariot racing, probably around 72 AD. We can tell this
because later on blue glass went out of fashion – tastes change all the
“Romans were particularly interested in chariot racing, that they followed almost like football is followed today.
“Chariot racing was very political, so different factions were followed
very loyally. This cup would display its owner’s loyalty to a
particular team or racer.
“Each of these objects has a story to tell.
“It would take a space many times the size of Tullie House to tell them all.”
Nearly 600 digs have taken place in Carlisle over the last 30 years –
with large scale finds at Blackfriars Street, The Lanes and Carlisle
Along with the Roman objects there are items from excavations at the Cathedral which unearthed Viking burials.
There are medieval tools, and even costumes to try on.
John French, Tullie House’s marketing assistant, said: “Everyone here is really excited about the exhibition.
“It is aimed at the entire community – there are things here that will appeal to youngsters as well as history experts.”