The World of Stonehenge exhibition is opening at the British Museum on 17 February. Stonehenge was built 4,500 years ago, around the same time as the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The exhibition sets the monument in the context of one of the most remarkable eras on the islands of Britain and Ireland, which saw huge social and technological revolutions, alongside fundamental changes in people’s relationships with the sky, the land and one another.
Dr Jennifer Wexler, project curator of The world of Stonehenge at the British Museum, said: “If Stonehenge is one of the world’s most remarkable surviving ancient stone circles, then Seahenge is the equivalent in timber. But as it was only rediscovered in 1998, it is still relatively unknown. We know about some aspects of the monument, including that it was constructed in the spring and summer of 2049 BC, from mighty oaks. But there’s much that still eludes us, including exactly what it was used for. Perhaps the central upturned trunk was used in funerary rituals to support a dead body. Perhaps entering the circular shrine brought worshippers closer to the otherworld. By displaying Seahenge in this exhibition we hope to bring it to a wider audience, and it provides an unparalleled opportunity to time travel back to the moment when circles of stone and timber were at the heart of people’s beliefs.”
The World of Stonehenge runs from 17 February to 17 July 2022 in the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery at the British Museum. You can find details and tickets here: www.britishmuseum.org/stonehenge
Picture credits: Stonehenge © English Heritage; Seahenge at the time of excavation © Wendy George; The gold lozenge of the Bush Barrow grave goods, 1950–1600 BC Amesbury, Wiltshire, England. Photographs taken by David Bukach © Wiltshire Museum, Devizes.
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