What's in our archaeology collection?

Archaeology can be defined as the study of objects, excavated from the ground, to tell us about human history. The archaeology collection that we care for is the largest in Surrey. There are over 85,000 objects and associated documents about them.

The archaeology collection at Guildford Museum was started by Surrey Archaeological Society in 1854. They collected archaeological material from all over Surrey. The earliest objects were mostly collected by private individuals. The collection grew during the 20th century as planned excavations were undertaken to research specific time periods or places, or because an area was going to be built on.

The Palaeolithic flint hand axes from Farnham are some of the oldest objects in the collection. They are about 600,000 years old and were around before Homo sapiens. A Babycham bottle found at Chilworth gunpowder mills is one of the youngest objects.

Most of our archaeology collection is not on display. Many types of archaeology are not suitable for display, but we keep them for research purposes. Much of the archaeology we store is a permanent record of a place after excavation and, often, after development, for example building of houses. It can be the only record we have of a site's history. We keep it so researchers, both now and in the future, can study that site.