27 February 2024

World of Stonehenge exhibition opens at The British Museum

A new exhibition uncovering the secrets of Stonehenge opened at The British Museum in London last week (17th February 2022).

The world of Stonehenge is the UK’s first-ever major exhibition on the story of Stonehenge. The exhibition peels back the layers of speculation, folklore and legend that surround the heritage site to shine a light on its purpose, cultural power and the people that created it.

Over 430 objects have been brought together from across Europe including loans from the Wiltshire Museum and Salisbury Museum.

Key loans include the Nebra Sky Disc, the world’s oldest map of the stars which is on loan to the UK for the very first time, and the astonishing wooden monument – dubbed Seahenge – that recently emerged after millennia from the sands of a Norfolk beach.

Nebra Sky Disc

The blurb on the British Museum’s website reads:

“Following the story of Britain and Europe from 4000 to 1000 BC, you’ll learn about the restless and highly connected age of Stonehenge – a period of immense transformation and radical ideas that changed society forever.

“The human story behind the stones reveals itself through a variety of fascinating objects. Among these are stone axes from the North Italian Alps, stunning gold jewellery and astonishing examples of early metalwork including the Nebra Sky Disc – the world’s oldest surviving map of the stars.

“A remarkably preserved 4,000-year-old timber circle dubbed Seahenge also takes centre stage in the show, on loan for the very first time. All these objects offer important clues about the beliefs, rituals, and complex worldview of Neolithic people, helping to build a vivid sense of life for Europe’s earliest ancestors.

Seahenge Lynn Museum

“Informed by ground-breaking recent archaeological and scientific discoveries, this landmark exhibition offers new insight on one of the world’s great wonders, bringing the true story of Stonehenge into sharper focus than ever before.”

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said, “To understand the purpose of the great stone monument constructed on Salisbury Plain, it is essential to consider its contemporary world and the culture of its builders. We are delighted to be able to do this in this unprecedented exhibition. Over 430 exceptional objects are being brought together, objects which are the last and only testament of sophisticated and ingenious people, and we are grateful to all of the lenders who have made it possible.”

The exhibition will run from the 17th February – 17th July 2022 and is open daily from 10.00–17.00 (Fridays 20.30).

Tickets for the exhibition are £20 for adults and free for under 16s who are accompanied by a paying adult.

Written by
Beth Doherty
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Written by Beth Doherty