The British Museum is set to unveil the secrets of Stonehenge next year with a blockbuster show featuring hundreds of ancient objects
The British Museum has announced an unprecedented exhibition of how Stonehenge was built. The exhibition of more than 400 objects from the period between 4000 and 1000 BC B.C. will explore this golden age in Great Britain and the human relationship with heaven and the elements at that time.
“To understand the purpose of the great stone monument that was erected on Salisbury Plain, it is important to consider its contemporary world and the culture of its builders,” said Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum.
The World of Stonehenge, which opens in February, comes from a variety of UK and international collecting institutions. In the heart will be Seahenge, a 64-post wooden circle with an upside-down mighty oak tree with roots reaching up to the sky. It was found preserved underwater in Norfolk and is on loan for the first time. The ad will also feature more posts than ever before, as well as an important “door” through which believers once entered.
“If Stonehenge is one of the most remarkable preserved ancient stone circles in the world, then Seahenge is the equivalent in wood. But since it was only rediscovered in 1998, it is still relatively unknown, ”says Jennifer Wexler, curator of the exhibition. “We know about some aspects of the monument, including the fact that it was built in the spring and summer of 2049 BC. It was built from mighty oaks. But much eludes us, including what it was used for. “
For example, experts wonder whether the an upside-down trunk was used in funeral rituals to hold a corpse and when believers believed that entering the circular shrine would bring them closer to the “other world”.
Objects from Ireland, Italy and Germany will also be on display, from amazingly preserved jewelry and jewelry to weapons. In addition to the beautiful Nebra Sky Disc, a metal disc that represents the night sky, a unique golden hat with a pattern of sun motifs and a solid golden cape will be on display.
By including other finds from the time of Stonehenge, which was built at the same time as the Sphynx in Egypt, the British Museum is responding to the growing interest in the site. While Stonehenge is banned from the public, people still gather nearby to pray at important moments on the pagan calendar, like the summer solstice. Thousands of years after it was built, the secrets of the building and what happened there remain unsolved.
“It’s an exhibition about the people who built and worshiped the memorial, but it’s also a story that transcends Salisbury Plain and even Great Britain and extends far into continental Europe,” said curator Neil Welkin. “Stonehenge’s eternal mystery and its meaning can only be fully understood by mapping the surrounding world that made it possible.”
Also in this blockbuster exhibit for sure are items from the funeral of the Amesbury Archers, who was from Germany but was buried in Wiltshire near Stonehenge, as well as items from the Bush Barrow site that made the stones Overlooks and includes the golden diamond, one of the most important examples of Bronze Age gold processing.
Follow Artnet news on Facebook:
Do you want to be one step ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest news, insightful interviews, and succinct critical views that will keep the conversation moving.