Wessex Gallery opens at Salisbury Museum

The museum is home to the remains of a Bronze Age man dubbed the "Amesbury Archer" discovered in 2003

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A £2.4m extension to Salisbury Museum housing more than 2,500 rare artefacts has opened.

The Wessex Gallery of Archaeology, which was partly funded by a lottery grant, is home to to a large collection of Stonehenge-related pieces.

These include the skeleton of a wealthy and powerful Bronze Age man dubbed the "Amesbury Archer" discovered in 2003.

The gallery also includes the Wardour Hoard containing 4,000-year-old sword fragments, spearheads and chisels.

'Be amazed'

The new centre is designed to tell the story of early Britain from the late-Neolithic Beaker people through to the Norman Conquest.

It comprises two former galleries at Salisbury Museum, the Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Collection and the Early Man Gallery.

Salisbury Museum will also be working with the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre to create complementary exhibitions about the ancient stone circle.

Adrian Green, director of the Salisbury Museum, said: "We've got some of the most important archaeological sites in the country, if not the world, on our doorstep here. And some of the finds from those sites are perhaps some of the most important, at least in Europe.

"So I want people to come along and be amazed by that and actually learn something about the past they haven't learned before."

The gallery was formally opened by anthropologist and television presenter Dr Alice Roberts on Saturday morning.

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