Treasures from the time of Stonehenge   Leave a comment

 

Britain’s greatest treasures from the early Bronze Age period and Neolithic of Stonehenge are to be given a permanent display for the first time – in the region where they were originally found.

Bronze Age treasure. disc bead

Bronze Age treasure. disc bead

Display of Neolithic axes found in the area from all over Britain and Europe

Display of Neolithic axes found in the area from all over Britain and Europe

The new specially-designed high security exhibition is constructed within the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes 15 miles north of Stonehenge itself and set within the wider ritual landscape of Salisbury plain. Funding was provided by a number of sources to realise this exhibition, from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, Wiltshire Council, the North Wessex Downs Area of Natural Beauty as well as several other sources.

Early Bronze Age Gold

This will include the largest collection of Early Bronze Age gold ever put on public display in England, which will help transform public understanding of the period when Stonehenge was at the centre of a rich and vibrant culture with links across Europe.

The Wiltshire Museum will be exhibiting an astonishing 500 Neolithic and Bronze-Age artefacts (circa 3000-1100 BCE) , including 30 items of golden treasure which have rarely been seen by the public before.

Bronze Age treasure. Golden cone

Bronze Age treasure. Golden cone

Amongst the ancient treasures placed on permanent display are a beautifully decorated gold lozenge, a magnificent bronze dagger with a gold- covered hilt, a golden fitting from a dagger sheath, a ceremonial axe, gold beads, necklaces, ear-rings, pendants and other items of gold jewellery, a unique jet disc (used to fasten a luxury garment), rare traces of ancient textiles and two of the finest prehistoric flint arrow heads ever found.

Unearthed by Antiquarians

“These and other spectacular treasures from the Age of Stonehenge were unearthed by antiquarians and archaeologists in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but until now it’s never been possible to give the public permanent access to them,” said David Dawson, Director of the Wiltshire Museum. “But now, after generous funding from a number of national and local organisations, we have been able to create a secure and stable environment in which they can be enjoyed by visitors to the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site from Britain and around the world.

“Stonehenge is an iconic monument – but this is the first time that such a wide range of high status objects from the spectacular burials of the people who used it, has ever been put on permanent display”.

The most precious gold, jet and amber objects from the period are being brought together in this permanent display to tell the story of the people who lived in and around the Stonehenge landscape when the monument was one of the great religious focal points of western Europe.

Many of the items may well have been worn by Bronze Age priests and chieftains as they worshipped inside Stonehenge itself.

Bush Barrow chieftain burial and display

Bush Barrow chieftain burial and display

The new facility not only features treasures from the Age of Stonehenge, but also recreates some of the key places they were unearthed. Archaeologists have recreated the famous Bush Barrow burial, where a Bronze Age chieftain was buried in regal splendour overlooking Stonehenge itself.

“Devizes is mid-way between two of the world’s most important ancient monuments – the great prehistoric stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury. Visiting the Wiltshire Museum completes the experience of seeing these two iconic sites. “ said Mr Dawson.

The new galleries – featuring gold from the time of Stonehenge – are the first part of a totally new re-presentation of Stonehenge and its landscape. Two months after this new facility in Devizes opens, English Heritage will open its new Stonehenge Visitor Centre and in 2014 Salisbury Museum will also inaugurate a new display. Making the entire area a draw for visitors from across the world to see first hand the artefacts and stories from the period that changed history.

Source: Wiltshire Museum in Devizes

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Posted October 20, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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