Burial Urns, Cooking Pots and a Life-Sized Chariot – New Exhibition Brings Ancient Middle-East to Durham

If you’ve ever fancied posing as an ancient charioteer, you now have the chance thanks to a new exhibition about life in ancient Lebanon, staged by Durham University’s Oriental Museum. The exhibition includes a life-sized sculpture of a chariot with two horses that visitors can try out. Positioned just outside the museum, the sculpture was created by artist David Freedman. “This exciting new sculpture will be a permanent legacy of the project,” the curator of the exhibition, Dr Mark Woolmer, stated, “We are very grateful to David Freedman for creating such an exciting piece to welcome visitors to the Oriental Museum.”

The exhibition, which includes items loaned by the British Museum and the National Museum of Beirut, is entitled Daily Life in Ancient Lebanon. Drawing from the latest research being conducted at Durham University, it presents an engaging introduction to this part of the ancient Middle East. The exhibition boasts a lot of items that have never visited the UK before, including articles made out of ivory, bowls made of silver, cooking utensils and burial urns. Valuable treasures will be displayed next to everyday objects. One somewhat quirky artefact is an ancient Phoenician perfume bottle in the shape of a hedgehog.  The exhibition, which will focus on the issues of faith, conflict, culture, government and trade in the Levant region in ancient times, is supported by the American University in Beirut. The exhibition will also examine the stages an individual passed through in their lives in bronze-age and iron-age Lebanon.

The exhibition is linked to Dr Woolmer’s undergraduate module the World of the Phoenicians, which he teaches at Durham University. Many of his students will be involved in the Daily Life in Ancient Lebanon project as volunteers.

The museum is open from Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm. On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays it is open from 12 to 5 pm. The entry fee is £1.50 for adults and 75 pence for children aged 5 to 16 and people over sixty. Kids under five and students get in for free. The exhibition will be on until 25th September 2016. More information can be obtained from the museum’s website: www.dur.ac.uk/oriental/museum/

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