British Museum
Seahenge reconstruction

Hello my beauties how are all of you faring in this sunny hopeful patch? Have you dusted off your feathers and are you ready for a quick trip to the heart of London to enter the great portals of the British Museum and gaze back in the mists of history to a more stony, woody, earthy time? A look at the emergence of metal and the dramatic change in history for our forefathers’ . their rapid evolving of the old ways not necessarily for the better?

This antler headdress crowned an extraordinary woman, honoured with a uniquely rich burial. Study of the bones at the base of her skull suggests she suffered from a rare condition that probably caused her to lose control of her body and enter trance states. She wore a necklace made from the bones of several wild animals. Across world cultures, shamans are believed to communicate with spirits, who often take the form of powerful beasts. One polished bone is from the throat of a wild boar and suggests that the woman could communicate with spirits on behalf of her community.

It’s my second viewing of this show and this will mostly be pics and the narrative of the British Museum curators. They have a centrepiece with acoustics so do try not to go at busy times.

These three carefully carved chalk treasures accompanied the body of a small child buried 5,000 years ago in Folkton, North Yorkshire. Burials with grave goods were exceptionally rare throughout Britain during this period. The eyes peering out from above abstract motifs on the largest and smallest of the sculptures might have been created with the fate and protection of a loved and vulnerable child in mind.

Top Tip: Indeed it is a thing of beauty and the lighting is spectacular and it was hushed and lovely when I arrived each time, but beware it doesn’t stay that way for long. Either get there at 10 or not until around 3 but nothing in between It gets busy and oppressive. As with shows that require a bit of spirituality it’s good if you can take in these objects as silently as possible.


The Nebra Sky Disc
Found in Germany, the Nebra Sky Disc is the oldest known material depiction of cosmic phenomena in the world. It reveals the creativity and advanced astronomical knowledge of cultures without writing.
The distinctive rosette of seven stars represents the Pleiades. These stars play a key role in an ancient rule, known from a 2,700-year-old Babylonian text, that allowed the shorter lunar year to be kept in step with the solar year. A leap month should be added every third year if a crescent moon a few days old appears next to the Pleiades in the springtime sky.
Gold and bronze Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany about 1600 BC State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt

The Nebra Sky Disc was made using gold from Cornwall and bronze from central Europe. It was remodelled as its meaning and use changed. Like Stonehenge’s alignment, the bands on either side marked the positions of the rising and setting sun over the course of the solar year.


You will see many beautifully lit cases of arrowheads of napped flint, stone axes, mysterious strangely shaped balls, carved chalk grave goods, glittering gold symbols of the sun and hats of the elite. There are bones and beaker cups, jewellery and weird stuff that nobody really understands so a good idea is just go in and savour them then do a bit of research later. Quite a few pieces are on view at the British Museum on a regular basis so you can catch them another time.

Stone and pottery, Ness of Brodgar, Mainland, Orkney Islands, Scotland, about 3000-2350 BC Ness of Brodgar Trust and UHI Archaeology Institute


They had to give you a henge of some kind after naming the show after its bigger stonier brother, so here you have Seahenge.

Seahenge was built in the spring or summer. At least 51 bronze axes felled oak trees to create a place of communal worship. The split-oak posts were tightly spaced in a ring with their bark-covered sides facing outwards, creating a giant tree. A narrow entranceway was aligned on the rising midsummer sun. Inside the circle was a mighty oak, its roots turned towards the heavens like branches. Inversion of the everyday world created a spectacular sight within the secretive confines of the circle, perhaps bringing worshippers closer to the otherworld.
Oak, Holme-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, 2049 BC

Beware the random “artists impression”

Although there’s a lot of ‘stuff’ there remember it’s about things that were happening around that time. The influences and the things that gradually shaped us (depressingly some of the time) into who we are today.

Spiritual warriors

These figures with dazzling quartzite eyes and removable phalluses travel on a serpent-headed boat. They were deposited in a waterway as an offering to protect an important travel and trade route. Their shields and three crewmates were found together, contained in a box. Their fluid identities may represent supernatural beings with the power to cross the watery depths to the spirit world beyond.

So sayeth British Museum of the above wooden boat strange, manny thing. I loved it but it reminded me of other stuff in the museum from all over, that they don’t really know what they were about either.

And so below the photos depict the strange coney pointy gold things and a couple of axe heads:

“These magnificent gold hats are among the most accomplished and impressive objects from this period. Expert craft workers hammered-out, shaped and decorated every inch with cosmological symbols including circles, solar-wheels and even a sun-like starburst (1). The tallest known example is an astonishing 88 cm.

Serving as headgear during ceremonies or rituals, they perhaps imbued the wearer with divine or otherworldly status. Carefully buried alone or accompanied by axes (2), rather than interred with the deceased, it seems they were held in trust for the community.”

Some sloppy reporting in their magazine is linked to my previous post about terrible timelines, and it says:

“Stonehenge was constructed around the same time, 4500 years ago, as the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza. The Royal Cemetery at Ur, in modern-day Iraq, was being filled with precious grave goods, imported from across the known world. Like the wonders of Giza and Ur, Stonehenge is a manifestation of the desire and ability to bring together, often over remarkable distances, the people, materials, objects and ideas required to achieve creative feats that remain vibrant and compelling after millennia. Intriguingly, the more distant sites in Egypt and Iraq may seem closer to us than the communities who moved the bluestones from Wales to Wessex and raised the great sarsens. To put the people back into the Stonehenge story, objects and context are key.” Neil Wilkin

Now if you want to say casually that all these monuments were created at the same time of ‘4500 years ago’ then maybe you should check your research that has pushed back those dates by a huge degree. It has never been proven about any of those dates as they are changing all the time, and to continue with the myth of these ‘primitives’ manually creating these beautiful artefacts with their primitive tools, is wrong also.

The features of a face are hidden in this superbly sculpted mace-head, with a spiral for eyes, lozenges for hair and a shaft-hole for a mouth. Found in a chamber within a huge tomb at Knowth in Ireland, it was a symbol of authority, but it was not buried with a body. It appears to represent invisible power, perhaps of ancestors or spirit beings.

Heigh-ho the museums stick very tightly to these glaring mistakes as facts as it buggers up the whole timeline they created for us. Forgive them this and just enjoy a gathering of beautiful objects and a bit of wild imagination as to the life of those who made them at one time.


Any comments gratefully received as I know this is a piece that I was getting grumpy with! Forgive me!!