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AWMM opening Secrets of Stonehenge exhib

Press Release: The Secrets Of Stonehenge Revealed In New Exhibition At Auckland Museum, Auckland War Memorial Museum, 2 December 2022

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.

Dr David Gaimster, Chief Executive of Auckland Museum says, “Stonehenge is surrounded by mystery and intrigue, and for centuries it has held tight to its many secrets. This world-class exhibition brings together an immense collection of ancient artefacts and shares archeological and scientific discoveries that are beginning to unravel the many mysteries of 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.

The Secrets of Stonehenge exhibition is curated by Professor Mike Parker Pearson, professor of British Later Prehistory at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and Fellow of the British Academy. He has been directing research on Stonehenge since 2003.

“After centuries of speculation, we are finally reaching an understanding of Stonehenge: who built it, when, how and why,” says Professor Mike Parker Pearson.

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.

“We now know that Stonehenge did not appear ‘out of the blue’. This part of Salisbury Plain had been considered sacred for hundreds if not thousands of years before the first Stonehenge was built. That first Stonehenge, built around 3000 BCE, looked very different from its second incarnation, built 500 years later, when it took the form in which it broadly appears today. Its story is one of change and evolution—a story we are piecing together for the first time,” continues Professor Mike Parker Pearson.

“We are fortunate to bring this world-class exhibition to Auckland and share its wonder with our communities here in Tāmaki Makaurau and across Aotearoa,” continues Dr Gaimster. “What is truly remarkable is the exciting new evidence and insights we now have about Stonehenge’s silent and massive stones. We can’t wait to share these ancient mysteries and recent discoveries with our visitors.”

Secrets ofStonehenge opens Thursday 15 December, coming exclusively to Auckland Museum, for a limited time.

Tickets are on sale from aucklandmuseum.com or at the ticket counters. Museum Members can experience Secrets of Stonehenge for free as part of their membership.



Adult $19
Concession (Students 16+ with Student ID, Adults 65+ with Gold Card or proof of age) $17,
Child (5-15) $10, Under 5 Free.
Family (2 adults, 2 children) $52

Unlimited free entry with Museum Membership


Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
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