Exhibitions

Circles of Stone: Stonehenge and Prehistoric Japan

30 September 2022 - August 2023

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About the exhibition

This September, a new exhibition celebrating the rich culture of prehistoric Japan and the fascinating connections with Stonehenge will open at the visitor centre.

Circles of Stone: Stonehenge and Prehistoric Japan will tell the story of prehistoric Japan through its settlements and stone circles of the middle and late Jomon periods, the time when Stonehenge was built and used.

What to see

Circles of Stone will feature exceptional objects, some of which have never before been seen outside of Japan. Key loans include a flame pot; a highly decorated type of Jomon pottery whose fantastical shape evokes blazing flames. The best flame pots are occasionally today designated as National Treasures, demonstrating the impact of these objects in contemporary Japan. Flame pots are as much an icon of Japanese prehistory as Stonehenge is emblematic of prehistoric Britain. Each provokes astonishment at the skill and creativity of past people, and hints at the complexity and sophistication of communities living in Jomon Japan and in Britain during the Neolithic period.

Also featured, will be fragments of exquisite clay figurines, known as dogu in Japanese. These have been found at Jomon settlements and stone circles and it has been suggested they may have represented earth goddesses or spirits, for use in fertility or healing rituals. It is believed that many dogu were intentionally broken and scattered during ceremonies.

More to be revealed soon.

Image: Flame pot. © Umataka Jomon Museum, Nagaoka City (photo by Tadahiro OGAWA)

Visit the exhibition

Circles of Stone: Stonehenge and Prehistoric Japan

30 September 2022 - August 2023

Admission to the exhibition will be free to Stonehenge ticket holders, English Heritage and National Trust England members and local residents, as well as education groups.

Book now

An English Heritage partnership project with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures.
Generously supported by the Ishisbashi Foundation.

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