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Royal Mail Ancient Britain stamps released

Working with illustrator Rebecca Strickson we have created the latest Royal Mail Special Stamp issue. 

The eight stamps feature some of the most inspiring objects and atmospheric sites of British prehistory.

The stamps explore how people lived in prehistoric times and depict famous iconic sites as well as some of the most exceptional artefacts from around the UK.

The images present a timeline of prehistory, from a glimpse of ancient ritual of 11,000 years ago, to the Iron Age of around 300 BC. They indicate a huge degree of organisation in ambitious building projects, and sophistication in exquisite metal working.

Each stamp shows the contrast between how the site or artefact looks today and how it might have originally been used, through the addition of Rebecca’s linework illustrations layered over photography to tell individual stories. 

We worked with historians and experts at the British Museum, English Heritage, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and Ulster Museum, carrying out in-depth research into each artefact and site, to discover how they might have been originally used. 

Senior designer Sarah Dutton explains ‘Some of the subject matter was from way back in history so it wasn’t always clear how the sites and artefacts were originally used. Researching this with experts was a really interesting process and invaluable to helping us convey their use as accurately as possible. The challenge was in finding a creative solution that would apply to both sites and artefacts, showing the level of detail needed to tell their stories on two completely different scales’.

Illustrator Rebecca Strickson says ‘I really enjoyed the creation of the illustrations, particularly for Drumbest Horns, Star Carr Headdress, the Battersea shield, and the magnificent Mold Cape. The latter two, I went to see at The British Museum in the flesh to really get a feel of how they were used and worn. The workmanship on them both is truly staggering. These incredible artefacts, earthworks and places we treasure today deserve to be appreciated as the amazing feats they are.'

The Ancient Britain Special issue is released on 17 January and is available from post offices and the Royal Mail website.

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