Lindow Manchester

Lindow Man Without Lindow Man

A couple of days after our Lindow Man exhibition closed I had a meeting with Cat Lumb, Lead Educator Humanities (Secondary and Post-16) to talk about how we could continue to offer an education session based around the Lindow Man courtroom scenario without being able to use Lindow Man himself.

We spent an hour looking around the Mediterranean Gallery and the new Manchester Gallery and  identified a number of objects that she could use with students to talk about what Lindow Man means. We spoke about different value systems and binary opposites between Northern (European)  and Southern (Mediterranean), cold and heat, beer and wine, barley and grape, ‘barbarous’ and civilised, native British (Brigantian?) and foreign (Romanised), literate and illiterate and so on.

Which of these sets of opposites  is better is a value judgement of course but native people don’t have a choice. They could either go along with the occupation or if they resisted they were defeated militarily in swift order. If the Roman administration is stamping out human sacrifice, then perhaps one of the (extreme) ways for native people to create or maintain a sense of identity is to sacrifice someone – like suicide bombers in Iraq.

The reconstructed head of Worsley Man on display in the Manchester Museum offers a way in to this debate and the original head is of early 2nd century AD date too. Other things that help the contrast between native and Roman include a Roman amphora in the Mediterrenean Gallery and the altar set up by Aelius Victor to the Mother Goddesses here in Manchester and now on display in the Manchester gallery.

We looked at some coins in the Money Gallery and compared native British gold coins with the Roman currency systems and discussed the different significance of money in different cultures. The perfect illustration of this was Chinese hell money displayed in the same gallery that is intended for use in the hereafter. It makes no sense in a monetary economy like ours but in the realm of magic and the afterlife it has considerable meaning.

Perhaps the Romans experienced a similar sense of bafflement faced with native British ways of doing things and vice versa.


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Love this blog I’ll be back when I have more time.

Comment by mrred

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