Wiltshire Bronze Age artefacts put on show

Wiltshire Heritage Museum The museum claims it hosts the best Bronze Age archaeology collection in Britain

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Bronze Age items which were excavated in Wiltshire 200 years ago are to go on display in the county after spending recent years in a bank vault.

The Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes, which had been at risk of closure, has been awarded a £370,000 lottery grant to create a new gallery.

The new Prehistoric Galleries will display Wiltshire's gold and amber finds dating back to before 2,000 BC.

Museum director David Dawson said he was "absolutely delighted".

"The best thing is we've got completely unique gold items from the time of Stonehenge and we've been able to put those on display for the first time in generations," he said.

'More visitors'

"It was excavated almost 200 years ago but it's been buried away in bank vaults for the last few generations - simply because we've not been able to display it.

"We haven't had the security in place but this lottery cash means that we'll be able to."

The museum currently receives a grant of £35,500 per year from Wiltshire Council.

But last month, the council rejected the museum's request to increase its grant despite the trustees claiming it could run out of cash within two years.

Negley Harte, the museum chairman, said the new gallery would be "vital for the future sustainability of the museum".

"It will bring more visitors to the museum and help us with our battle to make the museum financially sustainable."

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