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New look for Swaffham museum

Improvements to the Iceni Centre at Cockley Cley

Perry Clark with some of the re positioned exhibits at the centre. ANL-140417-173154001

Improvements to the Iceni Centre at Cockley Cley Perry Clark with some of the re positioned exhibits at the centre. ANL-140417-173154001

A bronze age giant and vintage agricultural machinery are the new focus of a museum following a refurbishment.

The Iceni Village, at Cockley Cley, near Swaffham, has been given a make-over in the last few months and has now re-opened as the Iceni Centre.

Visitors will be able to learn more about a 4,000 year-old Bronze Age man, known as the Giant of Cockley Cley, thanks to research undertaken by Cambridge University.

The bones , which were found on the estate in 1963, are now encased in a new showroom and hoped to be a big draw for tourists.

Carriages and a host of agricultural machinery, such as threshing machines, are also receiving greater emphasis following the make-over.

The centre has also been redecorated and has a new entrance area while the mock Iceni Village has been removed.

Centre owner Sir Samuel Roberts is hoping that the refreshment will go down well with visitors and boost numbers.

He said: “I am very pleased with the new look and we hope people will enjoy it.

“We have made it more historically accurate. One of our main attractions is the beautifully preserved skeleton.

“Cambridge University had the skeleton for three months last year. We have all their results written up on the display so people can learn more about it.

“From the bones, they have learned that his muscles were very well developed. He was a very strong fighting man with ground down teeth.”

The skeleton was found in a burial ground, known as a tumulus, on the estate in the 1960s but he is believed to have buried in 1800s BC.

He was tall for the time by standing at 5ft 10in and was in his 50s when he died.

The Iceni Centre also boats a Saxon church and Elizabethan cottage.

Other attractions include a model of the Battle of Waterloo, which includes 3,000 tin soldiers.

The former Iceni village has been replaced with a picnic area for visitors to enjoy their lunch before browsing around the nature trail.

Sir Samuel said: “The Iceni Village as a mock up and not very accurate. It was in a pretty poor state.”

There is also a collection of carriages and agricultural machinery.

Some of the items were bought by Sir Samuel’s father, who was also Sir Samuel.

He founded the museum in 1975.

Seven people were involved in the regeneration work and a further phase is planned in October.

The centre, in Cockley Cley Hall, is open daily from 10am to 5pm until October 26.

Admission is £6 for adults with concessions of £5 and £3 for under 16s.

 

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