Maidstone Museum’s British Archaeology collection – the largest in Kent – comprises approximately 11,000 artefacts of major local, regional, and national importance, representative of every period from Prehistoric to Medieval eras.
Of particular acclaim are the Anglo-Saxon items, part of Kent Archaeological Society. Among the finest in the country, and featuring grave goods from important cemeteries at Bifrons, Lyminge, and Sarre, the collection is demonstrative of the high quality of Anglo-Saxon craftsmanship. Other highlights of the archaeological collection include archives and artefacts from the Benjamin Harrison Collection of Eoliths, a proponent of Eolith theory in Britain and an age believed to pre-date the old Stone Age (Paleolithic).
The Boughton Malherbe Bronze Age Hoard, meanwhile, represents the third largest Bronze Age hoard ever found in Britain, dating to c950-800 BC. The video below is an illustrated talk, by Sophia Adams, describing the history of this 64kg of metal objects; the present day work on cleaning and researching the objects; and future plans for the display and preservation of the hoard.
You can also watch it on YouTube
More locally, stone tools and other evidence tell us that our ancestors were living in the Maidstone area over 400,000 years ago. Our Kent-wide collections of archaeological material are outstanding, ranging from beautifully fashioned flint tools and fabulous Bronze Age weapons, to exquisite Roman glass and rare Anglo-Saxon jewellery.
In the Roman period, the Maidstone area featured many villas and farmsteads. Several villas, cemeteries, roadside burials, and coin hoards have been found, indicating that Roman Maidstone was an important trade centre. Even nearby the Fremlin’s Shopping development were Roman remains uncovered.
The foreign archaeology collections number around 870 items and represent Aegean (including Greek) and Gandhara specimens, as well as the Egyptian Collection.