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The British Museum’s Stonehenge exhibition: An accessible, comprehensive guide (albeit with no druids…) | Culture

A visit to the major new exhibition at London’s British Museum on Stonehenge, the famous circle of prehistoric stones located in the south of England, ends with a scale photo of a beautiful pastel-colored sunset between the iconic lintels, a small object made of gold that appears to represent a partial solar eclipse, and a phrase about the monument uttered in 1967 by archeologist, writer and anti-nuclear campaigner Jacquetta Hawkes (1910-1996): “Every age has the Stonehenge it deserves – or desires.”

The exhibition, which opened this week and will run until July 17, boasts 430 objects (two-thirds of which have been lent by a total of 35 institutions), among them treasures such as the Nebra sky disc, believed to be the oldest depiction of the cosmos, as well as Seahenge, a stunning prehistoric wood circle that was located in the English county of Norfolk.

The organizers appear to have stipulated just which is our Stonehenge, and just how we should interpret this mysterious monument. In many ways, it is a Stonehenge of our times: from the choice of Hawkes to mark the end of the visit, and the efforts not to ignore the role of women in the exhibition’s narrative, to the emphasis on environmental issues, as well as the denunciation of violence and war. There is also an unexpected mention of “gender-neutral” individuals, related to a funeral dowry in which traditionally male and female objects are mixed.

The World of Stonehenge, as the exhibition is titled, takes advantage of two recent archeological endeavors: the Stonehenge Riverside Project and the Hidden Landscape Project. It is also based on the opposition between the construction of communal monuments such as the famous stone circle, and the later appearance of portable, individual objects that began to gain spiritual and social importance. There is an extraordinary selection of mostly gold objects that represent the sun.

The Stonehenge monument.
The Stonehenge monument. ENGLISH HERITAGE (Reuters)

As the museum’s director has joked, they would have had a tough time bringing the stone circle itself to London. But there is, at least, a piece of the monument: a fragment of one of the famous “blue stones” that was donated by celebrated war poet Siegfried Sassoon.

That said, one of the most surprising elements of the exhibition is the complete absence of the druids – not a single mention is to be found. It is true that the scientists who study Stonehenge are sick to death of the druids, who have been popularly and mistakenly associated with the monument since antiquarians such as William Stukely began to study it back in the 18th century. But it is no less true that, at an exhibition about Stonehenge, the druids should appear, whether we like it or not, if only to explain that they have nothing to do with the site.

Questioned about the omission by EL PAÍS, curator Neil Wilkin responded by saying that “Stonehenge is not their era,” and that to include them “the exhibition would have to be greatly expanded.” He did, however, concede that the elimination of the druids from the exhibition is “significant.”

Whatever the case, the litmus test for an exhibition about Stonehenge is whether or not it manages to achieve the difficult task of explaining a monument as complex as this one to the wider public. And it must be said that the visitor does indeed come out with a fairly precise idea of what Stonehenge is, and why it is important – and that is despite the fact that the journey spans 9,000 years, and three different periods: Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age. The 1,500 most-intense years of activity at Stonehenge, from 5,000 to 3,500 years ago, are equivalent to 100 human generations. It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin…

Human remains found in Germany, on display at The World of Stonehenge exhibition.
Human remains found in Germany, on display at The World of Stonehenge exhibition.DANIEL LEAL (AFP)

The exhibition argues that Stonehenge is aligned with the rising and setting of the sun at the solstices, moments when it was thought that the community’s fate was hanging in the balance. But it makes clear that the monument was not an observatory of the skies, a calendar or a place to predict eclipses or other celestial phenomena in a scientific or mathematical way, but rather that the alignments were important for the gatherings and religious rites that were celebrated on the site.

Many parts of the exhibition appeal to the emotions via a carefully crafted and striking staging, which includes cycloramas with dawns, sunsets and the night sky. The “eternal mystery of Stonehenge” can only be understood, it stresses, “exploring the world around that made it possible.”

The objects from the exhibition, the introduction explains, track fundamental changes in the “relationship of people with the sky, the Earth and some individuals with others.” The importance of the sun as a source of light and fertility, and the connection that the monoliths establish between the sky and the Earth are some of the concepts that are dealt with at the start, as well as the transition 6,000 years ago from the world of hunter-gatherers, to that of agriculture. The exhibition constantly shows parallels with other constructions.

Seahenge

One of the star attractions of the exhibition is the aforementioned Seahenge, a timber circle dating from 4,000 years ago and made up of 55 oak trunks. Discovered on the coast of Norfolk in 1998 and preserved under a layer of sand, it was aligned with the sunrise during the summer solstice. The exhibition of the monument is accompanied by an evocative sound installation, with noises of wind, waves and insects.

A museum employee dusts a section of Seahenge.
A museum employee dusts a section of Seahenge.DANIEL LEAL (AFP)

Those who are familiar with the history of the monument will recognize the sub-themes of the exhibition, such as the allusion to the supposed contact with Mycenae, the mystery of the Stonehenge Archer (was he sacrificed, or a victim of combat?) whose remains were found in the outer ditch, the dagger graffiti and the funeral mounds.

A small epilog – featuring drawings by William Blake, wherein he reimagines the monument – includes the indisputable assertion that “Stonehenge remains,” and that by doing so, it represents the memory of a people who, generation after generation, “gave meaning from a lasting place to a changing world.”



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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by ‘Savills’ reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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