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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Monday, September 21, 2009

Anglo-Saxon partnership

Not being much of a historian I don't know how much the Angles and the Saxons saw themselves as a partnership or how much they were just lumped together as such by the residents of these islands left behind after the Romans' holiday, or by later centuries of ignoramuses. I suppose it's a question I might find an answer to if the following suggestion ever came to be.

Today I read of a wonderful find from the North-East, where the burial of an Anglo-Saxon "princess" has been uncovered and the rich remains are to be displayed in a new display at Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar. The cross-over with the Prittlewell "prince" that MOL's archaeology unit excavated a few years back is obvious, no less the uber-famous royal burial at Sutton Hoo [tour]. The fantastic Portable Antiquities Scheme has brought many smaller finds to the knowledge of the heritage community and no doubt they all add to the sum of our knowledge about life at that time, whether noble or otherwise. It struck me, as one who often talks about partnerships but is lacking the imagination to come up with many good candidates for it, that this was one such, where the evidence of Anglo-Saxon royalty that's thinly scattered round the country could be united digitally. Not exactly revolutionary, but it shouldn't be too hard to make it happen, at least in part via the magic of machine interfaces. The PAS has Dan Pett's excellent API, the BM (home of many Sutton Hoo treasures, as well as the PAS, as it happens) has it's fab new-ish Merlin system, and we have...oh bugger, nothing at present but in due course the Museum of London's Collections Online system will emerge. Sadly the Prittlewell finds aren't ours, though we look after them for now, but we have plenty of info about the site as well as other A-S riches from within Lundenwic. Perhaps it's a nice student project to bring these all together. Anyone up for it?

Now I'm looking forward to Thursday, for when Dan is threatening exciting news. Can't wait!

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