The Discovery Room

The main technique Peter Hill employed on his extensive excavation of the Glebe field in Whithorn was ‘stratigraphy’. This archaeological procedure examines the arrangement and succession of strata, or layers of related objects built up over time and space.

In order to explain this layering process to visitors, a special, large exhibition ‘The Discovery Room’ was created by the Whithorn Trust. Its centrepiece was a construction of Perspex boxes each holding partial reproductions of finds such as bones, pottery and metal objects from the Dig. These were set into different coloured, darkening backgrounds denoting depth of soil.

Complete reproductions of the finds were exhibited in sequence around the walls of the room with illustrations showing how the site would have looked at different periods.

A number of hands-on activities, such as finds sorting, simple weaving, basket making and rubbings, encouraged involvement in the exhibition.

With a separate entrance, to the rear of the Trust buildings, The Discovery Room was heavily dependent on dedicated staff and volunteers to explain to visitors the exhibition and demonstrate the build of layers encountered by archaeologists at the Dig. Many years ago, the first person to introduce me to the exhibition was in fact Peter’s wife, Senga Hill.  Sadly, with cutbacks to funding, this detached exhibition area could not continue to open to the public and the three-dimensional explanation of archaeological stratigraphy, unique to any museum in the UK, was closed.

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