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A look at Stonehenge through the ages: British Museum exhibit brings builders to life

Britain Stonehenge Exhibition
Posted at 1:29 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 16:29:51-05

A new exhibition at the British Museum in London aims to shed new light on the ancient Stonehenge monument and on the people who built it.

Curator Neil Wilkin says many people feel like they know Stonehenge, one of Britain's most visited monuments, but less is known about the society that created it. "The World of Stonehenge" exhibition tells their story through more than 430 objects, from stone axes to gold jewelry and the oldest surviving map of the stars in the world.

It shows people who were surprisingly sophisticated and well-traveled. Wilkin said the exhibit aims to underline the human side of the shift from the Neolithic era to the Bronze Age. The exhibition opens Thursday.

Lead curator Neil Wilkin said Tuesday, “We all feel we know Stonehenge.” Wilkin said, "But often we don’t know much, or feel like we don’t know much, about the world, the people who built the monument and who came to worship at the monument.”

The World of Stonehenge' exhibition at the British Museum in London, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. The exhibition displays objects and artifacts from the era of Stonehenge.

“People often ask, is it like the Pyramids? But there’s no pharaoh in the middle of this monument,” said Wilkin. “It’s more of a communal enterprise.”

'The World of Stonehenge' exhibition at the British Museum in London, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. The exhibition displays objects and artifacts from the era of Stonehenge.

One of the exhibited items is the Burton Agnes chalk drum, which was found in a child's grave and is said to date back to 3000 BCE. Another similar 'drum' is on display at the 'The World of Stonehenge' exhibition at the British Museum in London as well.

The World of Stonehenge' exhibition at the British Museum in London.

Also on display is a gold cape found in a Mold in Wales which dates back sometime between 1600-1900 BCE.

Jennifer Wexler, a project curator said, “It’s almost like a prehistoric souvenir.”

As the Associated Press reported, Stonehenge was not the only circular “henge” monument built in ancient Britain. The exhibition at the British Museum includes Seahenge, a circle of oak posts made about 4,000 years ago and was incredibly uncovered by the waves on an English beach in 1998.