British Museum presents ‘The World of Stonehenge’

British Museum presents ‘The World of Stonehenge’

Stonehenge — British HeritageSeahenge 1999

The British Museum presents “The World of Stonehenge”, a major exhibition that sheds light on the famous megalithic monument and its wooden equivalent, Seahenge, discovered in 1998.

Images: Stonehenge. Photograph © British Heritage ·· Seahenge in the process of excavation, 1999. Photograph © Wendy George.

Built 4,500 years ago -around the same time as the pyramids of Egypt- Stonehenge is arguably Europe’s most famous megalithic monument. Known since antiquity, methodically excavated since the early 20th century, and a World Heritage Site since 1986, its use and even its origin is nevertheless still the subject of debate, giving rise to a multitude of theories and legends. In the words of Neil Wilkin, curator of the exhibition, “Stonehenge’s eternal mystery and significance can only be fully understood by charting the surrounding world that made it possible”. This is the aim of “The World of Stonehenge”, which presents more than 430 objects from across Europe with the aim of putting the famous stone circle into context.

The undisputed star of the exhibition, an extraordinary loan from the Lynn Museum, is a Bronze Age wooden circle, known as Seahenge due to its similarity to Stonehenge. Discovered on the Norfolk beaches in 1998, it consists of a series of wooden posts up to 3m high forming a circle 6.6m in diameter, inside which was the trunk of an oak tree, inverted so that its roots pointed skywards. “There’s much that still eludes us,” said Dr Jennifer Wexler, curator of The World of Stonehenge project at the British Museum, “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.”

In addition to Seahenge, the exhibition offers the opportunity to view other important loans from across Europe, such as the enigmatic Nebra Sky Disk, discovered in 1999, possibly representing a map of the firmament. Also included are the Schifferstadt gold hat from Germany and the Avanton gold cone from France. Wiltshire Museum has loaned a collection of objects that accompanied a burial site known as Bush Barrow, including the ‘Bush Barrow gold lozenge’, considered the finest example of Bronze Age gold craftsmanship ever found in Britain. #2022 #BritishMuseum #theartwolf

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ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

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