The ancient sculpture is the most important prehistoric art found in the UK

The Burton Agnes chalk drum, chalk ball and bone pin 3005-2890BC. Photograph: British Museum

A 5,000-year-old chalk sculpture discovered in East Yorkshire, due to be on display in the British Museum, has been called the most important piece of prehistoric art found in the UK in the last century. The object, which archaeologists have named the Burton Agnes Drum, is a chalk antique sculpture that was decorated with motifs similar to the art style at the same time that Stonehenge was built.

The drum was discovered next to the burial of three children. This piece of sculptural art is considered such an important discovery because of its resemblance to a group of objects in the collection of the British Museum.

The Folkton Drums are three barrel-shaped cylinders made of chalk. They were found in North Yorkshire along with the remains of a child. The pieces of prehistoric art have been part of the collection of the British Museum since 1889. According to the British Museum, these are some of the most famous and mysterious ancient objects ever discovered in Britain.

There is not so much information about the Folkton drums and their context. But this new drum, found about 15 miles away, sheds new light on them. The exact age of the Folkton drums has never been known, and it is generally agreed that they were made around 2500–2000 BC.

However, thanks to new technology and the discovery of a new antique sculpture, the Folkton drums can be identified as nearly 500 years older than previously thought.

This new discovery, only the fourth surviving example of its kind, is almost identical to the Folkton drums and could also be described as a chalk drum. Despite the use of the term “drum”, it is believed that the pieces of sculptural art had no musical function. Instead, they are works of sculptural art and are interpreted as talismans to protect the deceased children they accompanied.

The Burton Agnes drum is presented to the public along with all three Folkton drums. This is a part of the World of Stonehenge exhibition at the British Museum.

Neil Wilkin, Curator of the World of Stonehenge at the British Museum, said the discovery was truly remarkable.

The Folkton drum has been a mystery to experts for over a century, but this new example is finally starting to provide some answers. The Burton Agnes drum is even more intricately carved and reflects the links between communities in Yorkshire, Stonehenge, Orkney, and Ireland.

The discovery of the Burton Agnes grave is very touching. The emotions that the new pieces of prehistoric art express are powerful and timeless, transcending the time of Stonehenge and reflecting a moment of tragedy and despair that remains unchanged 5,000 years later.

The British Museum was the first place the public saw this important site, and they saw it, along with 430 other ancient objects, telling the fascinating story of Stonehenge and the vibrant world in which it was built.

The World of Stonehenge exhibition at the British Museum, which runs until mid-July, is the first major exhibition of Stonehenge in the UK. Nearly two-thirds of the properties on display will be provided by 35 lenders from several countries, including Germany, Denmark and Italy.


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