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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 March, 2005, 06:34 GMT
Vampire rabbit mystery unravels
Vampire rabbit
Little is known of the significance of the vampire rabbit
A vampire rabbit with long red nails is just one of the bizarre exhibits in a new display charting the history and archaeology of Tyne and Wear.

The rabbit is one of 7,000 archive entries to go live on Tuesday on a new website, which also features long forgotten sports, wars and witchcraft.

Other unusual entries include the 9ft-long skeleton of a Roman soldier found in Fulwell, Sunderland in 1795.

The Sitelines Project is run by Tyne and Wear Museums and Newcastle Council.

The bizarre figure of a fanged rabbit, is above the ornate doorway of solicitors' offices on Amen Corner, behind St Nicholas' Cathedral, in Newcastle.

The wrestling ground (supplied by Newcastle City Libraries)
The wrestling ground at Forth Bank in Newcastle

Lindsay Allason-Jones, director of Archaeological Museums at Newcastle University, said: "'Sadly, very little is known about why the rabbit is there, or what it represents.

"We would love to hear from anyone who can enlighten us."

Ms Allason-Jones added: "The project was begun by a former archaeologist who made a point of seeing every site and building of significance in Tyne and Wear.

"Essentially, anyone who wants to know anything about the archaeology of their local town or village will be able to find it in this archive."

The archive also shows where sport fans could have found their entertainment in the Victorian era including cock fighting in Sunderland, and wrestling and bear-baiting in Newcastle.

The Sitelines Project is the result of a two-year partnership, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, between Newcastle University, Tyne and Wear Museums and Newcastle City Council.


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