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Archive for October, 2013

The Heritage Trust

Conservator Luisa Duarte cleaning a Romano-British sculpture of an eagle and serpent
Image credit Andy Chopping. Museum of London Archaeology/PA

 
Maev Kennedy, writing in The Guardian yesterday, reports on a Romano-British sculpture recently unearthed in the City of London by archaeologists from the Museum of London.
 
A superb Roman eagle in near pristine condition, serpent prey wriggling in its beak, has been found by archaeologists in the City of London. A symbol of immortality and power, it was carefully preserved when the aristocratic tomb it decorated was smashed up more than 1,800 years ago – and is regarded as one of the best pieces of Romano-British art ever found.
 
The preservation is so startling that the archaeologists who found it a few weeks ago at the bottom of a ditch, on the last day of an excavation on a development site at the Minories, were worried in case they…

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Hundreds of treasures from the golden age of Stonehenge have gone on permanent display in England, revealing the story of the people who lived amidst the area when the monument was one of the great religious focal points of western Europe.

Housed in a large, specially-designed high security and humidity-controlled exhibition facility inside the Wiltshire2013-10-stonehenge-object-overlay-jpg Museum in Devizes, 15 miles north of the megalithic stone circle, the objects make England’s largest collection of early Bronze-Age gold.

“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,” David Dawson, director of the Wiltshire Museum.

PHOTOS: Stonehenge Made to Glisten

Most of the 500 Neolithic objects on show were unearthed within a half mile radius of Stonehenge, including 30 gold pieces which were excavated in 1808 from a burial mound known as Bush Barrow.

Found by William Cunnington, Britain’s first professional archaeologist, the objects became known as the crown jewels of the “King of Stonehenge.”

Overlooking Stonehenge itself, the burial indeed contained the skeleton of a chieftain who lived almost 4,000 years ago. He was buried in regal splendor with the objects that showed his power and authority.

Among the treasures on display are a magnificent bronze dagger with a gold covered haft, a golden sheath for a dagger, a ceremonial axe, gold beads, necklaces, earrings, pendants and other 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 head ever found.

ANALYSIS: Stonehenge Settled 5,000 Years Earlier Than Thought

“Many of the items may well have been worn by Bronze Age priests and chieftains as they worshiped inside Stonehenge,” Dawson said.

“Axes and daggers on display are identical to images of weapons carved into the giant stones of Stonehenge itself,” he added.

The exhibition’s centerpiece is the beautifully decorated gold lozenge found on the chest of the “King of Stonehenge.”

Although the purpose of the gold lozenge remains a mystery — interpretations have ranged from an elaborate button to an astronomical instrument — its precise decorations, made of impressed lines, reveals a detailed knowledge of mathematics and geometry.

“All this was done with the naked eye as there were no magnifying glasses or microscopes,” Dawson told London’s Times.

ANALYSIS: Understanding Stonehenge: Two Explanations

The museum hopes that the $1.2 million exhibition will help attract more tourists to Devizes, generating jobs in the local community.

“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,” Dawson said.

Image: Some of the objects on display. Credit: Wiltshire Museum

Artcle source here: http://news.discovery.com/history/archaeology/stonehenge-treasures-reveal-worshippers-sophistication-131017.htm

‘We now visit the Wiltshire Museum on our private guided tours of Stonehenge’

Wessex Guided Tours

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Stonehenge News and Information

In September 1808, William Cunnington, who was Britain’s first professional archaeologist, wrote to his patron to tell him that he had discovered what were to become known as the crown jewels of the “King of Stonehenge”.

On Monday, some of the treasures he found will go on permanent public display for the first time.

Gold from the time of Stonehenge:  new prehistory galleries at the Wiltshire Bush Barrow LozangeMuseum in Devizes Opening on 14 October, a completely new display over 4 galleries will tell the story of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site.

On display for the first time are dozens of gold items dating to the time of Stonehenge. Many were found Bronze Age burial mounds within sight of Stonehenge, and were worn by people who worshipped inside the stone circle. These nationally important objects have never been on permanent display, and are now on show as part of this…

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Exploring London

A new permanent gallery looking at how the Royal Navy shaped individual lives and the course of British history over the 18th century opens at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich on Monday 21st October, Trafalgar Day.Nelson, Navy, Nation charts a course from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 through to the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 and provides a setting for the museum’s many artefacts related to Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson. Among the 250 objects on display in the gallery are the uniform (with bullet hole) Nelson wore at the Battle of Trafalgar, artworks likes William Hogarth’s Captain Lord George Graham in his Cabin, a seven barreled volley gun and grim items like a surgeon’s tools including an amputation knife, bone saw and bullet forceps. There is also the last letter Nelson wrote to his daughter Horatia and mourning rings worn by close friends and family at his…

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Vikings: life and legend

The Heritage Trust

 
 
Vikings: life and legend exhibition at the British Museum
 
The British Museum has announced that –
 
In March 2014 the British Museum will open the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery with a major exhibition on the Vikings, supported by BP. The exhibition has been developed with the National Museum of Denmark and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) and focuses on the core period of the Viking Age from the late 8th century to the early 11th century.
 
The extraordinary Viking expansion from the Scandinavian homelands during this era created a cultural network with contacts from the Caspian Sea to the North Atlantic, and from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. The Vikings will be viewed in a global context that will highlight the multi-faceted influences arising from extensive cultural contacts. The exhibition will capitalise on new research and thousands of recent discoveries by…

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The Heritage Journal

The new Visitors Centre was shown off this week. It’s unfair to fully judge it yet but 3 things stood out for us (one good, one bad and one uncertain):

The look
Early on there was bitter criticism (“like an immigration detention centre” said a former Mayor of Salisbury; “incongruous” said CABE, the Government’s design watchdog). Not being design experts we can’t say if those criticisms are valid or have been met but it comes down to personal taste and it looks OK to us. More to the point we strongly empathise with the architects when they say: “If once back at home, a visitor can remember their visit to the stones but can’t remember the visitor centre they passed through on the way, we will be happy”. We also think that the main advantage of how it looks is that it can’t…

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English Heritage announced that the first phase of the long-awaited improvements to the setting and visitor experience of Stonehenge will be launched to the public on Wednesday 18th December 2013

Artist’s impression of the permanent exhibition which features, among other things, precious objects on loan from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum

Artist’s impression of the permanent exhibition which features, among other things, precious objects on loan from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum

“This Will Change People’s Experience of Stonehenge Forever” 

Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said: “This world famous monument, perpetually described as a mystery, finally has a place in which to tell its story. The exhibition, will change the way people experience and think about Stonehenge forever – beyond the clichés and towards a meaningful inquiry into an extraordinary human achievement in the distant past. The exhibition will put at its centre the individuals associated with its creation and use, and I am very proud with what we have to unveil to the world in December.”

From 18 December 2013, entrance to Stonehenge will be managed through timed tickets and advance booking is strongly recommended. Online booking opens on 2 December at www.english-heritage.org.uk/stonehenge.

Organise a private guided tour of Stonehenge and explore Wiltshire rich heritage
Tours depart from Bath and Salisbury: http://www.HisTOURies.co.uk

Wessex Guided Tours
The Best Tours in British History

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