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Maiden Castle from the air

Maiden Castle from the air

English Heritage

The Archaeology Gallery

Dorset's rich archaeology is reflected in the collections of Dorset County Museum with over a million finds from the Iron and Bronze Ages to the later medieval period. The most important of these objects are on display in the Archaeology Gallery, where visitors will find gold neck-rings, hoards of bronze coins and beautiful Roman mosaics.

The Gallery also displays objects from one of the country's most important archaeological sites, Maiden Castle, near Dorchester. People lived and worshipped on Maiden Castle, one of the largest hillforts in Europe, for thousands of years but the Iron Age is the period from which most finds date, including domestic utensils, working tools, pottery and skeletons.

The finds reveal a great deal about the local landscape, which was not always as peaceful as it is now. Buried on Maiden Castle there is evidence of the bloody battles that took place after the Romans landed in Britain in AD 43.

Under Roman rule, Dorchester and the surrounding area saw a great deal of change. The Romans built an amphitheatre, aqueducts and baths, town walls and elegant houses. Visitors to Dorchester can still see the remains of a Roman Town House, and there is an enormous wealth of Roman material, including beads, glassware, pottery and mosaics, displayed in Dorset County Museum.