THE DORSET County Museum was approached by the University of Manchester who requested that they use one of the museum's most iconic Iron Age burials in their project.

Dr Melanie Giles, who grew up in North Dorset and and volunteered in the museum's own archives at the age of 14, initiated the request for the finely decorated Iron Age mirror that was discovered in Portesham, Dorset.

This mirror was requested for The Grave Goods Project, a research collaboration between the University of Reading, University of Manchester and the British Museum.

The project focuses on material culture in graves and other formal mortuary contexts in Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age Britain, c. 4000 BC to AD 43.

The mirror, and other grave goods that were buried around the time of the Roman Conquest, were found accidentally by a metal detectorist in the burial of an elderly woman.

The goods were reported to Weymouth Museum, who called in Wessex archaeology to evacuate the items.

The Dorset County Museum acquired the finds for public display in 1996.

Twenty-three years on, The Grave Goods Project team were invited to come and see the spectacular objects first-hand from this time which hold great artistic creativity, as well as political turbulence.

The Grave Goods Project team worked with Manga artist, Chie Kutsuwada, and one of the original diggers, Dave Murdie to produce a funny yet moving account of the burial.

The aim of the account is to help school children understand how archaeologists excavate and analyse burials, and how important and exciting they can be.

Former Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen was invited to write three poems inspired by a selection of grave goods, one of which was the Portesham Mirror.

Chosen not for being a great communicator, but for his acquaintance with grief.

Rosen said the project reminded him of certain items placed in his sons’ casket, who died aged 18 of meningitis

The Grave Goods team are now working with the museum's curators to make sure that the Portesham woman achieves her place in Dorset's hall of prehistoric fame, once the Heritage Lottery Funded redevelopment of Dorset County Museum reopens in 2020.

To watch Michael reading his prehistoric burial poems, visit his Youtube channel: