Looking back into history…

Portrait Photography of Mr Heywood Sumner

The Society’s Archaeological Collection is housed in the Heywood Sumner Room. It contains many artefacts dating from the Palaeolithic through to the Medieval period.

Much of the collection consists of artefacts excavated by former BNSS President George Heywood Sumner in digs all over Dorset and Hampshire in the early 20th century, saving many items for us during the growth of Bournemouth and other areas.

Flint Hand Axe
Hand Axe c. 200,000 BCFound Corfe Mullen, 1928.



JB Calkin and many others brought in spectacular finds in the form of numerous stone tools and weapons from Dorset, Hampshire and beyond, dating from 500,000 years ago to the early Roman period in Britain.

Bronze Axe
Talbot Woods Hand Axe c.200,000BC

During the Bronze and Iron Ages metal tools and weapons appeared, including axe heads, spear heads and swords. Trade with Europe and the Mediterranean increased and ports like Hengistbury Head became important.



During the Roman period (c. 54-450 AD), pottery making techniques continued to improve. Local potters grew prosperous supplying the imperial army, and continental pottery like Samian ware was imported.

Although most of our collection is local, we have a fascinating group of oil lamps from the Mediterranean and other artefacts from further afield.
The archaeology collection continues to grow, with finds brought in by members of the public to be identified, some of which are loaned for display.
We are always delighted to help identify and research finds, and help build a more detailed picture of our history.