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False teeth and Tudor ear-picks among items on display in underwater archeology exhibition

Underwater archaeologist Gary Bankhead alongside just a fraction of the hundreds of objects discovered in the River Wear at Durham.

Underwater archaeologist Gary Bankhead alongside just a fraction of the hundreds of objects discovered in the River Wear at Durham.

FROM false teeth to antiques – artefacts have been put on show for the first time since they were recovered from the depths of the River Wear.

Around 100 items found on the riverbed by diver Gary Bankhead will be displayed from today as part of an exhibition on underwater archaeology put together by a team of eight Durham University students.

The selection has been chosen from 3,500 pieces found during dives in Durham, with the university’s Palace Green to host the display.

It includes medieval buckles and pins, Tudor ear-picks and Victorian medical items through to modern belongings such as keys, jewellery, mobile phones and children’s toys.

The diver’s medieval cloth seal collection is the largest and most important collection of its kind outside London.

Gary, who works as a watch manager in the city for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, started his excavations in 2007 following a suggestion from his wife.

Gary said: “The exhibition marks an exciting milestone for me in the ongoing excavations in the Wear. The collection is made up of many ordinary and extraordinary objects which are challenging the way we understand Durham’s past.

“Whether in the River Wear through deliberate deposition or accidental loss, these objects represent a direct link to the people who once lived and died in the City of Durham and its immediate hinterland.

“I feel privileged to be an integral part of the team from the Department of Archaeology at Durham University excavating, conserving, exhibiting and researching these fascinating objects.”

Jeremy Thackray, who is among the students who have worked on the Diving Into Durham project, said: “It’s been a really interesting process, and there are some interesting stories to be heard and some great exhibits.”

The display runs until September.

A study day on Saturday, June 14, will examine the collection in more detail.

For more information, visit www.divingintodurham.com or call 334 2932.

 

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