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I’m a total museum hag. I swear, I’d stare at moose poop if you put it in a glass case with a laminated tag. I particularly like funky little private museums, personal and desperately short of funding.

That was the main reason to suggest Hasting on my b’day: there were several little museums we hadn’t seen. Two were side by side: the Shipwreck Museum and the Fisherman’s Museum.

The Shipwreck Museum was especially fun. Rusty cannons, pieces of eight, old china, instruments and models. In one display, there were bundles and bundles of what looked like stacked firewood. Turns out they were muskets, probably someone gun-running to the Confederacy.

And then there was this thing — the thing in the picture — which doesn’t have anything to do with shipwrecks at all. Don’t strain your eyes, the inscription reads:


Part of a timber pier considered to be of the first London Bridge built, according to tree-ring dating, most likely in AD 85-90.

As oak trees grow one ring per year (in wet years the ring is thick and in dry years thin) it has been possible for scientists to trace the tree-ring pattern to the south-east of England and back almost 3,000 years.

If you count the rings at the end of this timber, the outermost being AD 78, this confirms that the tree was growing during the lifetime of Christ.

And that is how you know this is a privately funded museum, free of government monies: that sweet old-fashioned reference to Christ. I wonder how many Muslims have been triggered by that thing?

We put a few pounds in the collection box on our way out.

May 13, 2015 — 10:09 pm
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