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Watercolour paintings of the HMS Owen Glendower by James Lewis Holloway (l) and of Beefsteak Cave by Frederick Leeds Edridge (r). SUR
New exhibits are on show at Gibraltar National Museum

New exhibits are on show at Gibraltar National Museum

The opening of the displays is taking place on 1 June between 10am and 6pm and offers a look at unique artwork and artefacts with origins on the Rock

Myrto Kaltsidou

Friday, 31 May 2024, 14:39

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Two new exhibits are on show at Gibraltar National Museum, the opening of which is taking place on 1 June between 10am and 6pm. The displays aim to illustrate the richness and diversity of artwork and artefacts with origins on the Rock.

The first of these exhibits presents the restored antler of a red deer, which was in a fragmented state when it was excavated from the Neanderthals' Grotto last summer. In fact, recent results indicate that the antler was left at the site between 100,000 and 103,000 years ago, according to director of the museum's Natural History Department Dr Stewart Finlayson. However, it took museum conservator Nelia Bonillo several months to restore the piece before it could be exhibited for the first time.

The restored antler of a red deer, excavated from the Neanderthals' Grotto.
The restored antler of a red deer, excavated from the Neanderthals' Grotto. SUR

The display also features large limpets brought to the site by the Neanderthals, which also form part of a study conducted by senior scientific officer at the museum Dr Alex Menez.

The second display reflects the work carried out during archaeological watching briefs coordinated by senior researcher at Gibraltar National Museum Tyson Lee Holmes. Many items were recovered over the course of this work, including 14th century Merinid ceramics, crockery from the 1970s, as well as ceramics which are thought to date back to the capture of Gibraltar in 1704.

Minister for Heritage John Cortes views the restored antler of a red deer, excavated from the Neanderthals' Grotto last summer.
Minister for Heritage John Cortes views the restored antler of a red deer, excavated from the Neanderthals' Grotto last summer. SUR

According to the government of Gibraltar, safeguarding their cultural heritage is an important part of the legislation and planning process. The physical assets, whether buildings, monuments or archeological remains, are a material consideration, the requirements of which are determined by the Ministry for Heritage as advised by government archaeologist Dominic Lopez.

Also on show are two recently acquired 19th-century watercolour paintings. The first is a portrayal of Beefsteak Cave, located south of the Rock, which was painted by Frederick Leeds Edridge in 1832 and was donated to the museum by the Nevill family. The other is a late 19th century depiction of the convict hulk, HMS Owen Glendower, painted by James Lewis Holloway and donated to the exhibit by Professor Larry Sawchuk from Toronto, Canada.

Minister for Heritage John Cortes visited the exhibits on Thursday.
Minister for Heritage John Cortes visited the exhibits on Thursday. SUR

In reponse to the displays, the minister said, "Once again our national museum proudly presents our fascinating heritage for all to see. These displays show once again the value of the work at Gorham's Cave World Heritage Site, but also validate the importance of archeological watching briefs that are required in all construction sites today as they can reveal so much of our past."

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