A new permanent gallery - ‘Origins: Reimagining Cumbrian Prehistory’ - has opened at Tullie House, explaining how the first inhabitants of Cumbria lived and bringing to life ancient Cumbrian stories. 

Rare collections reveal the connection between the early peoples of Cumbria and their relationship with the outstanding local landscapes. As prehistoric people made their way across the land, the natural world provided their communities with opportunities to grow, and to develop their own customs, cultures and identities.

‘Origins’ examines over 8,000 years of prehistoric human activity, with displays exploring the advanced technologies that were developed from materials like stone, metal, animal bone and glass. Some of these materials were found in Cumbria and others were traded from afar. Look out for stunning examples of stone and metal axes, impressive golden jewellery, mysterious carved stoneware and highly decorated ceramics, all of which reveal the complex societies and surprisingly advanced skills of our predecessors.

A fully impressive sense of what life was like 8,000 years ago has been created with the aid of film, photography and audio. The new sensory stations provide visitors with the opportunity to touch and feel 8,000 years old objects which bridge the gap between visitors and their distant past.

Elsa Price, Curator overseeing this development identifies the connection with the past: “The Cumbrian landscape is still important today. It is home to two UNESCO world heritage sites and connects us to our past. This is arguably a period in which landscape had the biggest influence on human development and we can still visit the places which have been marked by prehistoric people. I hope this gallery encourages visitors to see prehistory in a new way; one which places Cumbria as an interconnected place where prehistoric people created both beautiful and highly functional objects. I believe that the link between prehistoric peoples and the landscape is more relevant than ever - today we are thinking about how our activities and ways of life are impacting the environment and how that might affect the future of our community and the planet.”

Elsa has been a Trainee Archaeology Curator at Tullie House since April 2018. The traineeship is a two year programme funded with the support of the Headley Trust.

 ‘Origins’ opened on the permanent Border Galleries Tullie House on Monday 17th June, where normal admission applies.