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The artefacts of New Place

A new online exhibition goes 'Searching for Shakespeare' through objects uncovered on the site of his former home

The Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University, in collaboration with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust have recently published an online exhibition dedicated to objects recovered from the excavations of New Place, the home of William Shakespeare.

Extensive evidence of the personal possessions, diet and the leisure activities of Shakespeare, his family and the inhabitants of New Place were recovered during the archaeological investigations, undertaken between 2010 and 2016. The purpose of the online museum collection is to provide the ability to view a selection of these objects representing the chronological history of the site.

The virtual objects on display have been scanned using structured light 3D scanners. The scanning process has enabled the production of 3D models which can be viewed, rotated and interacted with online.

This participatory and interactive database presents only a small number of the artefacts recovered from the New Place excavations. The digitization of a much wider number of artefacts contained within the Trust’s archive remains a future goal.

The recovered artefacts, some of which may have belonged to Shakespeare himself, are presently stored in the archives of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, many of which remain inaccessible to researchers and the wider public.

By curating this online exhibition of 3D archaeological artefacts, the public now have the opportunity to access and explore the results of our many years of research at the former site of William Shakespeare’s home. It allows people to continue their enjoyment and understanding of archaeology and Shakespeare at a time when museums across the country are physically shut to the public.

Explore the Searching for Shakespeare exhibition online at

You can also read William Mitchell's article what the archaeological excavations have revealed about Shakespeare’s interests, attitudes and motivations on The Conversation.