One of our front of house team mentioned that the contractors working on the new Ancient Worlds displays had discovered a newspaper tucked away behind some of the cases. Intrigued, I went and had a look.
It’s a copy of the Guardian dated Friday January 17th 1986. It’s quite a blast from the past. Gorbachev was still Soviet leader, Neil Kinnock was labour leader and Col.Gadafy was in power in Libya. Steve Bell was still lampooning Ronald Reagan on the inside back page.
In the Financial pages there’s an article about the Wellcome Foundation, which was a significant contributor to Manchester’s archaeological collection. There’s an interesting article on optical microscopy and its applications in forensic study of human remains.
The front page has a piece on Roman jerry-builders. Archaeologists working at Leadenhall found that builders of the ‘biggest known civic building north of the Alps’ had built on top of soft underfill, resulting in ‘tantalisingly massive cracks’. ‘Tantalisingly massive’ sounds like a contradiction in terms to me.
Archaeologists are used to dating layers in the earth by finding artefacts such as coins and it’s nice to be able to date work on the last Mediterranean Galleries using this newspaper.