Discovering our ancestors at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

An example of a 'hoard' found close to a body of water
By Zac Sherratt-Jordan

Historical artefacts and modern technology come together to create a fascinating new exhibition at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.

Opened to the public on Saturday, January 26, the Elaine Evans Archaeology Gallery offers a fully immersive look back at the Brighton and Hove area, many thousands of years ago.

Stepping through the door into an enchanting room of sensory awakening, we’re met with visuals of fire-building, with faint tree chopping setting a sombre background soundtrack for the morning.

As we venture through the dimly-lit room with forestry clad walls and begin to discover the exhibits on display, it’s easy to lose sight of just how tremendous an achievement this gallery is.

The artefacts on display, all of which were discovered or believed to be made in Sussex, date back thousands of years, and are presented in such a way that feels as though they’re being unearthed for the first time.

An accurate 3D face reconstructed using the mans remains

It’s worth mentioning at this point how well the room flows through the eras, from the Ice-age through to the Saxons, effortlessly we meander through different ages scattered with in-depth looks at near-complete human skeletons and beautifully accurate 3D facial reconstructions.

What’s evident about this exhibition is that it is as much about education as it is sheer fascination.

With interactive tutorials and displays of items used in times of slavery, this room really does tackle aspects other curators may have chosen to leave absent, while not excluding younger visitors.

My only criticism would be the interactive screen demonstrating the science behind much of the gallery.

I can’t help feeling a facility like this deserves a more important position within the space.

It is clear to see how much effort has gone into this extraordinary look at our past, a wonderful chemistry between artefacts of years gone by and technology of the likes we have only just discovered, set in possibly the most picturesque area of Brighton.

Slavery restraints believed to have been made in Sussex

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