VISITORS will be able to gaze at treasures from Roman times when an archaeological store opens for the first time since the pandemic.
The Helmsley Archeology Store, in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, contains several hundred thousand artefacts, ranging in age from the prehistoric period to the Cold War era.
Most of the objects, in stone or ceramic, were excavated from sites in the north of England, before coming into the possession of the owners, English Heritage.
But on the huge shelves, visitors can also spot medieval tiles, marble fragments – and even human bones.
The entire store building is monitored to record humidity and temperature to ensure artifacts do not degrade.
Susan Harrison, Curator of Collections, said: “The more stable the environment in which we can place our objects, the less intervention work we need to do.
The first tours of the site will begin tomorrow (May 27), where history buffs will have the chance to join a one-hour guided tour of the incredible locations.
Earlier this month, The Press reported how the English Heritage Archeology Store housed the mosaic from the Roman Villa at Beadlam.
The mosaic remained unknown until 1966, when excavations began to uncover the remains of a relatively large villa dating from the third and fourth centuries AD.
The mosaic was damaged, but what remained was carefully lifted in sections and is now kept at the store.
A new project will see the mosaic recreated by local school students and community members, near where the original was found more than 50 years ago.
As part of the Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership, which works with communities in the River Rye catchment and its tributaries, sections of the mosaic are to be recreated and displayed to the public.
Sue Kershaw, mosaic artist from Huttons Ambo in North Yorkshire, was responsible for planning the leisure project and running the various workshops with local children and adults.
Sue told The Press: “I’ve been absolutely fascinated by Roman mosaics for the past 20 years, so I was delighted to be asked to recreate something of such local significance, it’s truly a dream come true.
“Actually, I was rather surprised, as I had never heard of Beadlam Villa and its mosaic. The site is not open to the public and the original mosaic is not on display, so I felt like I was discovering one of Yorkshire’s best kept secrets. I am delighted that this project will allow more people to experience Roman history on our doorstep.
The children of Nawton Community Primary School have already completed part of the project design.
On Saturday May 28, mosaic sessions will take place at the English Heritage Archeology Store throughout the day and artefacts from the Roman Villa will also be on display.