British Museum unveils treasures at centre of new exhibition on Neolithic period

The forthcoming exhibition at the British Museum will celebrate the iconic megalithic monument Stonehenge in what the institution promises to be a “landmark show.” It can’t include Stonehenge, of course, but our private guided Stonehenge tours can depart from the museum and take you directly to the monument itself.

The World of Stonehenge is at the British Museum, London, from 17th February to 17th July 2022 and will surprisingly be the first time ever that the legendary site has served as the subject of a major event at the massive and prestigious museum. In keeping with that momentous occasion, curators putting the exhibition together have reportedly amassed a staggering array of artifacts, including approximately 250 pieces that have been loaned to the event from institutions throughout Europe and the UK.

A key part of the collection, this 4,000-year-old Bronze Age timber structure has been nicknamed the Stonehenge of the Sea after it re-emerged on a Norfolk beach in 1998. It consists of a large upturned tree stump surrounded by 54 wooden posts. The oak posts, some up to 3m tall and form a 6.6m-diameter circle around the upturned oak, creating a giant tree-like spectacle. A narrow entranceway was built aligning to the rising midsummer sun and it is speculated the monument was used for ritual purposes.

The aim is to set the stone monument – built 4,500 years ago, and one of the most recognisable sights in Europe – into the context of an era during which there was huge social and technological change.

This is a fiercely emotional exhibition, full of love for the people of the distant past. It even wants us to learn from them. The early agriculturalists who built the henges were communal, sharing feasts at a camp called Durrington Walls near Stonehenge. There are even remains from a party when early farmers and the last hunter-gatherers ate together, the hunters cooking venison they caught, the farmers serving beef from their herd. Many of our guided tours include Durrington Walls and Woodhenge as part of the package.

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