By Enrique Rubio
Stonehenge, UK, Feb 10 (EFE).- Clouded in mysterious myths as old as its own origin, the 1,000-year monument of Stonehenge is now being swept of its clichés to show itself for what it was: the nerve center of a cosmopolitan world, whose tentacles extended even to continental Europe.
Far from being a superhuman creation, isolated in time and space, the Stonehenge circles were born and grew in an era of enormous connectivity, which lasted for 1,500 years during which humanity experienced spectacular social and technological changes.
Today, these stones continue to fascinate as much as they did in antiquity. They still hold countless mysteries, but thanks to the advances of science we now know much more about who built it, how and why they did it and when it began its decline.
With the goal of distancing Stonehenge from the shadow of the Druids or the legend that the wizard Merlin was the architect, from next week the British Museum in London is set to host the UK’s largest exhibition on the story of this world-renowned monument.
Neil Wilkin, the curator of the World of Stonehenge exhibition, tells Efe that he aims to shed new light on Stonehenge so that all its connection points can be better understood.
“You think that Stonehenge is an English and British monument, and when you start looking, you see that it extends all over the island and across Europe,” Wilkin says.
Over 430 Neolithic and Bronze Age artifacts from 35 British and international institutions will be showcased at the exhibition to show how the stone circle left its mark in one way or another.
“Stonehenge is a temple, but everything around it is basically a graveyard,” explains Wilkin.
Entire families traveled from remote places to visit the site and probably take part in the construction of the stone circle, located in Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England.
“It could be something similar to the pilgrimage to Mecca for Muslims; a ritual that was done once in a lifetime and to which you consecrated a year of your life,” says Wilkin.
In fact, participating in the mere creation of the monument was part of its spiritual significance, the latest studies show.
One of the most valuable treasures nearby is the Amesbury Archer grave, where an early Bronze Age man is buried along with more than 100 objects, including the oldest two golden items found in Great Britain.
The remains of the archer, which are preserved in the nearby Salisbury Museum and will be displayed at the exhibition, show that he came from present-day Switzerland or Germany.
The English county of Wiltshire is home to dozens of sites that are as significant as Stonehenge. EFE