Archaeology
  • A to Z
  • About us
  • Contact us
  • Accessibility
  • A- A+

 Archaeology


 
The archaeological collections at Leeds Museums and Galleries are diverse, covering many thousands of years of history and prehistory, and representing a wide range of ancient cultures from around the world.  

Archaeology from the UK and overseas, particularly from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, was eagerly collected by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society between the early 1800s and 1921. Today we still actively collect, although we focus more on representing the archaeology of Leeds and the surrounding area.


Where can I see the archaeology collections?
Most of the archaeology collections are housed at Leeds Discovery Centre where they can be viewed by appointment. Part of the Medieval collection is stored and displayed at Kirkstall Abbey.

There are two galleries showcasing archaeology in Leeds City Museum. The archaeology of the Leeds area can be explored in The Leeds Story, and treasures of Egypt, Greece and Rome are on display in the Ancient Worlds gallery.  The archaeology collections also regularly feature in a wide range of temporary exhibitions.

Find out about some of our varied collections below!

Click to expandThe Lanuvium Archive



Excavations were carried out at Lanuvium, an important early Latin and Roman town, in the 1880s.

These excavations were directed by Sir John Savile Lumley (later Lord Savile) who arranged for the objects he recovered to be divided between the British Museum and Leeds City Museum. 

This large collection is made up of important marble sculptural pieces including horses and the torsos of cavalrymen, as well as a range of other objects including pottery, glassware, metalwork and coins.

Click to expandLocal Excavation Archives


Leeds Museums and Galleries collects material excavated from the local area, usually in advance of building works or other upgrade schemes. 

 One of our largest archives is from Dalton Parlours, the site of an Iron Age settlement and Roman villa near Collingham, which was excavated in the 1970s. Other more recent work across the district has generated a range of interesting finds from different periods. 

As well as the objects from these excavations, we also collect all the associated paperwork and data, which is available to consult at Leeds Discovery Centre. 

Click to expandRecently acquired objects


​This gold Viking ring was found by a metal detectorist in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire.  It dates to between the 11th and early 12th centuries, and is made of two gold rods and two gold beaded wires twisted together.

  Because it is gold it has been declared Treasure and it was purchased through the Portable Antiquities Scheme with the aid of grants from Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society and the Friends of Leeds City Museums.

Other new acquisitions include:

  • Two floor tiles originally from Kirkstall Abbey
  • An archive of objects and paperwork from fieldwork carried out at Granary Wharf, Leeds, in 2007.  The work revealed two 19th century buildings associated with the canal, and objects include pottery, glass, clay pipe, brick, tile and animal bone.
  • A range of items found by a metal detectorist in the Leeds area, including a Roman strap fitting, a Roman cosmetic mortar, a Roman ring and brooches, and a Medieval harness pendant.

Click to expandContact the Curator

​If you have an enquiry about Kirkstall Abbey or any of the archaeological collections, please get in touch.


You'll find full, up-to-date contact details for our curatorial staff in the Collections section of our Staff page (see the link below).

Staff contact details

Follow us:

  • facebook
  • flickr
  • twitter
  • youtube