Crown jewels of Stonehenge go on dazzling display: new prehistory galleries opening 14th October!

12 10 2013

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 £750,000 gallery development at the Wiltshire Museum – home of Britain’s richest Bronze Age collection.

The centrepiece of the stunning new displays is Britain’s most important Bronze Age burial. The Bush Barrow chieftain lived almost 4,000 years ago and was buried in a barrow overlooking Stonehenge wearing the objects that showed his power and authority – including a gold lozenge, a ceremonial mace and a gold-decorated dagger. Axes and daggers like those found in the grave are carved onto the Sarsen stones at Stonehenge. The precision and design of the Bush Barrow lozenge proves that the people who built and used Stonehenge had a detailed knowledge of mathematics and geometry. The gold finds from Bush Barrow have never before been on permanent display in Wiltshire.

The image alongside show Sebastian Foxley of the Wiltshire Council Conservation Service and David Dawson, Director, moving the Stonehenge Urn to its new home.

Wiltshire Heritage Museum:

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5 responses

12 10 2013
Arturus Rex

I have a copy of the agreements between Salisbury and South Wiltshire, and the Duck worth Museum Oxford. (obtained under the Freedom of Information Act 2000) English Heritics agreed to pay for the New Exhibition in return for the ‘loan’ of the Human remains excavated from Stonehenge for display at their new visitors center.

12 10 2013
Arturus Rex

With a financial interest, is it any wonder that I am reliably informed that it was pressure from Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum that eventually won the day for them at EH’s commissioners meeting when they discussed my proposal to display replicas in stead?

12 10 2013

I agree that the return of the very bones of the people buried at Stonehenge far outweighs the importance of these fascinating trinkets. It is a shame that such clear priorities can be so skewed, a replica could so easily be arranged and would make the enjoyment of our common history once again enjoyable.

13 10 2013

I have used a fictionalised version of the Bush Barrow lozenge, belt buckle, mace and dagger with gold pointille hilt, in my two novels of Stonehenge, STONE LORD and MOON LORD, as well as other artifacts from the Stonehenge area–jet, amber, sun disc buttons etc. Probably the only novels of this era that really deal with the culture as the dawning of a heroic era,

18 10 2013

Reblogged this on Wessex Guided Tours.

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