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Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Monday, 21 February 2011
Museum offers public chance to handle prehistoric axes
Curator Clare Pickersgill holds up a prehistoric axe at the University of Nottingham's Archaeology Museum
The museum has 342 items on display and 3000 boxes of artefacts in its stores

The Nottinghamshire public are being offered a rare opportunity to handle a 75,000-year-old axe and other ancient artefacts at a local museum.

The University of Nottingham Museum of Archaeology is putting on a Prehistory Day on 23 February 2011, in conjunction with the BBC's Hands On History.

Curator Clare Pickersgill said: "It's so important. When you hold an object you begin to ask different questions."

The attraction is the only specialised archaeological museum in the region.

"What I love about this museum are the everyday objects," said Ms Pickersgill. "These tell us so much about the everyday people like you and I.

"Somebody said to me that this collection is a snapshot of Nottinghamshire over time. You can see how people lived over 250,000 years."

The museum opened in 1933 with artefacts donated by Felix Oswald, including his collection from excavations at Margidunum, a Roman site found under a roundabout at Bingham in the early 1930s.

Artefact belonging to the University of Nottingham Museum of Archaeology
The museum's artefacts are mainly from Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands
The collections date from the Palaeolithic time period, between 75,000 and 250,000 years old
The museum holds a large collection of Stone Age artefacts - mainly stone tools
Other items on display include Bronze Age metalwork and pottery as well as Iron Age pottery and fabrics
At present the collection includes 342 items on display and 3000 boxes of artefacts in its stores

Its collection has swelled through donations from individuals, as well as finds by the Department of Archaeology at the university.

"We have a medieval site on campus. It's the medieval village of Keighton, first found in the Second World War during the 'digging for victory'," said Clare.

"It produced cooking pots and tiles for Lenton Priory in the 14th and 15th century."

In 2010 the museum won the Nottinghamshire Heritage Museum of the Year award.

Clare said the award was in recognition for their outreach work and their progress on making the collections more accessible.

"A lot of people might think that we're just here for the students but we're here for everyone.

"Previously there were objects in cases but no labels and the museum was not always open. Now we're open Monday to Friday, 10.00am until 4.00pm, we're free and anyone can come and look."

The Hands on Prehistory day at The University of Nottingham Museum of Archaeology, will take place on 23 February, 11.00am to 4.00pm. This event is part of the BBC's Hands On History.

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