Archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum (York Museums Trust)


Our archaeology collection of nearly one million objects ranges from the earliest prehistoric finds up until the twentieth century and is the one of the most comprehensive in a regional British museum outside London.

The majority of our Roman, Anglian and Anglo Scandinavian (Saxon and Viking), and Medieval objects come from York and Yorkshire.

Our most significant objects include the medieval Middleham Jewel and Ring, the York Helmet, and the Gilling Sword, all found in the region, plus the Ormside Bowl, found in Cumbria.

Roman objects include the statue of Mars and the head of Constantine and the tombstone of Lucius Duccius Rufinus, Standard Bearer of the Ninth Legion, as well as a head of human hair, preserved in a Roman gypsum burial, all found in York.

Some of the finest medieval architectural and monastic material in England comes from St Mary’s Abbey, in whose ruins the museum now stands, particularly a series of 12th century life-size statues of saints and prophets.

The museum’s prehistoric collection ranges from the earliest man-made tools from half a million years ago, Bronze Age material from across Europe, to the Iron Age Arras chariot burials, discovered in the Yorkshire Wolds.

Find out more about the Portable Antiquities Scheme who can help identify your archaeological finds.


Collections Online

Information and images on many of our archaeological artefacts can be found via our Online Collections database here. You can also explore specially curated exhibitions online and find out more about some of our star objects via the Google Cultural Institute – please click on the links below.

Please note: The Yorkshire Museum is home to an extensive and varied collection of items and artefacts. Whilst we make every effort to display a broad spectrum of our collections it is not always possible for all our collections to be on display at once.