Last month I was lucky enough to spend a day work-shadowing with the Properties Historian Team from English Heritage. I joined the team on their site visit to Stonehenge, which ashamedly I had only seen from the road before.
The Visitor Centre at Stonehenge has undergone a huge redevelopment and I think very successfully. The displays are thematic and engaging, and there is fantastic use of technology to supplement the traditional exhibit. A particular favourite of mine was a three-hundred and sixty degree projection that showed the construction of Stonehenge over time. Being taken round by the historian who developed the exhibition was truly insightful, I just hope that some day I’ll be able to have such an impact.
Unfortunately I did not get a good photograph, but one of the real gems of the exhibition is the facial reconstruction of a Neolithic man, made from a skeleton buried close by. I’m sure if you google it you’ll find a picture! I have seen the reconstruction of Richard III and was blown away but this is on an entirely new level. Richard III is somewhat plasticy in comparison, but the example at Stonehenge is eerily realistic.
We travelled to the Stones on the specialist land-trains that have received much criticism in the press and reviews. I personally found them quaint and fitted in with the feel of the place. However I completely understand that they are unsuitable for busy tourist periods.
I found Stongehenge unfathomable in that I just could not get my head around how it was possible for prehistoric people to move stones into such an arrangement. However the exhibition does do a fantastic job of arguing how these people were actually far more developed and sophisticated than stereotypically thought.
A great addition that English Heritage are working on currently, are a series of Neolithic houses. When complete they will be a full reconstruction of what a Neolithic house would have looked like, I just wished they were ready to see!
I think a trip to Stonehenge is necessary for anyone as it is such an iconic part of English history. Admittedly, this period is not my favourite part of history, yet the exhibition did a fantastic job in engaging me throughout, and I am sure that it will do for you also.


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