Bristol and Avon Archaeological Society

Late Lunch Talk: Dr. Fawcett – one man and his collection

On Thursday January 21, 2021
Gale Boyle, Senior Curator of Archaeology

What motivates an individual to make a collection?

There is probably something of a collector in all of us but for some, like Dr H A Fawcett, it becomes a life’s work and all-consuming passion.

Museum archaeology collections usually comprise three broad categories: excavation archives, chance finds and antiquarian collections. This talk explores the method, the make-up and the motivation behind one person’s creation of an amazing collection known as the ‘Dr HA Fawcett Collection of Typology.’

The Fawcett Collection was purchased by Bristol Museum in 1980 and consists of 7,514 items mainly of bronze and stone that date from the Palaeolithic to the early Saxon period.

Fawcett was an antiquarian collector – his interest lay in the objects rather than the archaeological contexts from which they came. This collecting activity began during World War I when serving abroad and where he also did some “hasty” and limited excavations, but most of his collecting was conducted via sale rooms, curio shops, dealers, workmen, friends and fellow collectors.

As well as introducing the collection and its fabulous array of objects, our speaker will also share some of her recent research into the paperwork that Fawcett kept, and how this has revealed some quite amazing object histories. Gail will also explain his connection to one of England’s most famous finds of Treasure.

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