Location: British Museum

Jade Cong
These enigmatic, rectilinear tubes reveal clarity of thought and took great effort to produce. What can they mean?

Jade Cong

Jericho Skull
Is the plaster face on this skull modeled after a real person? Is it one of the world’s oldest portraits?

The Jericho Skull

Lion Man
The cave lion was the fiercest animal of the ice age, and this mammoth ivory carving combines human with lion.

Lion Man

This cloth—first woven by a wise spider—sends social messages through a system of specific patterns.

Kente cloth

Belt Buckle, Sutton Hoo, early 7th century, gold, 13.2 x 5.6 cm © Trustees of the British Museum
Excavated in 1939, this 7th-century grave once held a hoard of metalwork, all buried within a 27-meter long ship!

Sutton Hoo Ship Burial

The Sutton Hoo purse lid- detail
Rendered in gold and garnet, the enigmatic animals on this purse lid stand out above white bone.

The Sutton Hoo purse lid

The Sutton Hoo helmet, early 7th century, iron and tinned copper alloy helmet, consisting of many pieces of iron, now built into a reconstruction, 31.8 x 21.5 cm (as restored) © Trustees of the British Museum
Restored, dismantled, and restored again, this helmet was a pile of rusted iron and tinned bronze when first discovered.

The Sutton Hoo helmet