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The Origin of Southburn Archaeological Museum

In the early 1960s, the late Brian Hebblewhite was a tractor driver on Southburn farm. During his work he kept finding old pottery and other artefacts in the fields and he took them to Hull Museum where many were identified as Romano-British and some from even earlier periods.

In the years that followed, with the support of the late owner of the farm, Mr. John Rymer, Brian, his wife Val and daughter Ann did extensive work on the farm including some excavation. They were supported by local archaeologists, including Tony Brewster, and became knowledgeable amateur archaeologists in their own right.

John gave Brian some redundant farrowing sheds in which to house the collection which expanded to include material from the Neolithic period through to modern times giving a unique insight into the continuity of occupation of Southburn and the surrounding area through the ages.

After Brian’s death, the collection was supplemented by additional metal finds provided by metal detectorists but the collection was not accessible to the public.

In 2005 the Southburn Archaeological Museum (S.A.M.) project was formed with the agreement of Tim Rymer, Director of JSR Farms, with the aim of making the collection and information about history and archaeology available to adults and children alike.

The Museum has been developed and is now run by volunteers. After a lot of work renovating the buildings and cataloguing the collection, the Museum formally opened in July, 2008 at an event coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of JSR Farms.

Brian’s collection forms the core of the SAM exhibition but we are also very pleased that our collection is growing as local people kindly donate or loan us additional artefacts from the area and thereby enable us to tell more of the story of this part of the East Riding of Yorkshire.

In 2010 we were given a unique opportunity by the British Museum which kindly agreed to loan us the full scale replica Iron Age chariot based on an interpretation of the ‘Chariot Queen’ burial at nearby Wetwang which featured in the BBC ‘Meet the Ancestors’ programme. This part of the East Riding is the centre of Iron Age chariot burials in the UK.

The replica chariot returned to the British Museum for the Celts: art and identity exhibition but has since made the journey back to East Yorkshire and forms the centre point of the new exhibition space.

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