preserve it in Winchester Museum.
Sparsholt is a walled courtyard villa of which the main corridor villa and one of the subsidiary 'basilican buildings' have so far been excavated. This year it is hoped to investigate the gate-house and the buildings on the fourth side of the courtyard. Mr. Johnston has promised to write a full account of the villa for Current Archaeology after this season's excavations are over.
T HE new museum at Fish bourne, officially opened at the beginning of June has been a great success, and in the first eight weeks since its opening it has at
tracted over 100,000 visitors. The main display here is the north wing of the Roman palace (described in our January issue), over which a vast cover building 280 ft. long by 70 ft. wide has been erected. This has no internal supports at all—a considerable architectural feat especially when combined with the low ceiling—and it is therefore possible to see the whole wing at a glance, and to wander down the cat-walks and see the individual rooms with their mosaic floors, and their relationships to each other.
The 'museum' is in an adjoining building opening off the entrance hall, but it is not a conventional museum where a selection of the finds is simply thrown together.
Instead its main purpose is to act as a guide to the palace, to illustrate its history and development, and to reconstruct its original appearance. Many of the finds are indeed on display, though apart from the stone head of a boy they differ little from the usual small finds made on any Roman excavation. But they are part of a comprehensive display, with text and photographs, and superb models which illustrate precisely how the site appeared at the various stages of its development. The display may indeed be a little too long to be absorbed at a single visit, and further plans of the details of the rooms will no doubt be added as they become available as the final publication proceeds. But it remains a tour de force, the most impressive museum in Britain.
F INALLY we visited the open ing of the Iron Age room at Devizes Museum. This is the museum of the Wiltshire Archaeo logical Society, and as Wiltshire is so important archaeologically, so the museum is of more than just local importance. It provides an admirable example of what a museum should be, combining ar tistic display with educational ex position. Perhaps it might have been possible to devote a separate case to each of the major excavations,
All Cannings Cross, Little Woodbury and Cow Down, etc., rather than to such abstract concepts such as Trade', or 'Handicrafts'. But the skill with which the curator, Mr. Ken Annable had made his way through the problems and controversies of the Iron Age was quite exceptional.
The centrepiece of the room is the Marlborough bucket, the outstanding example of Iron Age decorative art that had been cleaned and re-mounted by the British Museum laboratory. (One can never really get angry with the B.M., for one realises that it is by services such as this that it renders an incalculable contribution to the archaeology of the whole country). Models were used at intervals around the display, that of the excavations at Berwick Down being particularly illuminating. By comparison with the superb models at Fishbourne they looked rather home-made—which they were. But this is the essential difference. At Fishbourne the expenditure of £15,000 by the Sunday Times enabled a superbly professional display to be made in the short space of six months—sure proof of the ability of the Sunday Times to back a winner. Devizes was run on a shoe-string by the local society and is financed partly by the entrance fees—now raised to 2s. 6d. Yet there are two other important museums in Wiltshire, one at Salisbury and the other at Avebury, which though small, is nevertheless of major importance. One cannot avoid feeling that some day, somebody will want to do some rationalisation.