Large blue beads with chevron patterns
These beads are of unknown date and have been variously described as Egyptian, Medieval and Renaissance. The two halves of bead show how the colours are added by progressive dipping and coating.
The mineral Mica is a Silicate that forms in very thin layers; the single sheet shows how transparent it can be. It was known as Muscovy Glass. Mica is mainly white but there is a black variety containing iron.
Prehistoric flint lance head, knife and spearheads
Flint is a variety of quartz. It is strong and heavy but can also be chipped away to create very fine sharp edges, sometimes serrated, as in these examples.
These small bottles include many found during excavations in Canterbury. The double one has a label identifying it as found in Medinet-Tabou (Habou?) in Egypt. The bottles would have contained perfume, cosmetics, medicine and similar.
Venus flower basket
The skeleton of an ocean sponge, known as Venus Flower Basket, is made of silica by the soft-bodied creature living inside. David Attenborough chose the Venus Flower Basket as one of the amazing creatures he would save if he had an ark, in a recent TV series.