15 December 2022—15 April 2023
Auaha Atea Nui Special Exhibition Suite
The international exhibition Secrets of Stonehenge comes exclusively to Tāmaki Makaurau, opening on Thursday 15 December at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum. Featuring over 300 ancient artefacts from more than 4,000 years ago, this exhibition shares the breakthrough scientific evidence that is unravelling the secrets behind one of the world’s most mysterious prehistoric monuments.
Stonehenge has long sparked curiosity and awe regarding its origins, construction, and meaning. For centuries scholars and visitors alike have puzzled over this ancient landmark. After almost 20 years of excavations in the surrounding landscape and at the source of its bluestone in Wales, archaeologists finally have some answers that shed light on the people who constructed Stonehenge.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, is one of the most famous landmarks on the planet. The monument once consisted of rings and horseshoes of standing stones, some topped by horizontal “lintels”. The largest stones are around 7 metres high, nearly 3 metres wide and weigh more than 22,000kg. Scientific analysis has revealed that many of the stones were transported an astonishing distance from the Preseli Mountains in Wales, over 240km away, with no modern means of transportation.
Secrets of Stonehenge digs deep into the evolving stories of the world-famous landmark, from how the stones arrived there to who the builders were and what their intentions might have been as they formed the stone circle. In addition to Stonehenge’s construction, the exhibition also speculates on the monument’s special place in the ancient landscape, its role as a domain of the dead, and how it related to nearby settlement Durrington Walls, the village of the builders in the domain of the living.
Through artefacts, including stone tools, antler picks, pottery, gold and bronze objects, science and hands-on experiences with interactive tables, touch screens, videos, slide shows and digital animations, visitors can explore when, why and perhaps most intriguingly, how and by whom Stonehenge was built.