Valence House Museum tweeted this week that the oldest exhibit currently on display is the Dagenham Idol.
From the webpage of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (http://www.lbbd.gov.uk/MuseumsAndHeritage/LocalHistoryResources/Pages/EarlyHistory.aspx )
“The most remarkable object from the Neolithic period (between c4000 and 2000 BC) is the Dagenham Idol, uncovered in 1922 in marshland just south of Ripple Road. It is carved from Scots Pine and is around 4,300 years old, making it almost 1,000 years older than Stonehenge and one of the earliest examples of human representation in Europe.
“The Idol is believed to have been an offering to the gods to increase the fertility of the land. Buried beside it was the skeleton of a deer, possibly sacrificed for the same reason.
“The Dagenham Idol is currently on loan to Valence House Museum from Colchester and Ipswich Museums, so why not visit Valence House and see it for yourself?”
The Essex Society for Archaeology and History (then the Essex Archaeological Society) carried a report of the find in its Transactions (n.s. Volume 16 part 4 (1923)) – available from our Online Bookshop.