Forgive me a little aside here, but I’m feeling a little proud about this.
I first started working with the Vyne, a National Trust property in Hampshire, about 18 months ago. On my first visit, one of the objects that most interested me (apart from the truncheons stored in the ante-chapel to impose the will of the aristocracy on the peasants) was a fourth century gold ring, said to have been one of Tolkien’s inspirations for the ring that features in his famous books. At the time, this ring was tucked away in the corner of a tiny display cabinet with a hand-written note that asserted but didn’t explain the Tolkien connection. The new property manager there, Dave Green, and I agreed that this was a story that deserved a bit more attention and explanation.
Since then Dave and his team, with the help of the Tolkien Society, have worked hard to give the ring the space it deserves. After a soft opening over the last month, the exhibition officially launched on Tuesday.
I was chuffed to see that Dave had managed to get it onto the front page of the Guardian.But in the last couple of days, the story seems to have gone viral, with write-ups on news sites across the web. Its amazing to see what power the Tolkien name has in getting a story about a piece of archaeological detective work out into the public consciousness.
But today I was blown away when I discovered that Yahoo News has even seen fit to film a comedic report on the story. One which, though light-hearted and irreverent, takes the time to unpack and tell the archeological story and ends with a shout out to Sir Mortimer Wheeler.