The remains of a Bronze Age chieftain interred with unprecedented animal offerings and a 2nd male buried in a seated position have been discovered in Lechlade-on-Thames, Gloucestershire, southwestern England. The burials were discovered in 2017 during an archaeological survey in advance of construction of a skate park. Radiocarbon analysis of the bones dates both men to around 2200 B.C.
The chieftain was recognized as an essential, rich leader by the uncommonly respected animal stays discovered in his grave. The skulls and hooves from four different cattle were found. Head and hoof livestock burials have been found in the past– it was a Bronze Age funerary practice seen throughout Europe– however all of the ones unearthed in the UK before this were single cattle burials with one skull and one hoof from one animal.
Artifacts buried with the chieftain consist of a copper dagger with a whale bone pommel, a stone wrist guard, an amber bead and a strike-a-light package made up of a flint and iron pyrite. These grave products are particular of Beaker culture burials. The one thing he was not buried with was the actual Beaker pot after which the culture was called. Archaeologists think this noticeable absence shows the deceased carried out a specific function in his neighborhood, one not gotten in touch with the significance of the Beaker pot.
The chieftain tomb was found in the center of a circular ditch. The terrain is flat now, however at the time of the burial it was a barrow with soil mounded inside the ring ditch. This style is also typical of Beaker cultural burials. Within the circular enclosure beside the main grave were the remains of an older man. He was 50-60 years of ages when he died.
” He was buried in an unusual ‘seated’ position– his legs were present extending downwards towards the base of his severe pit,” [Foundations Archaeology archaeologist Andy] Hood stated. “We haven’t found a direct parallel somewhere else in Bronze Age Britain.”
Many people buried in Bronze Age Britain were set up in a crouched position on their sides, as the chieftain was. So the older guy’s proximity to the chieftain, in addition to the guy’s absence of a Beaker “package” and strange burial position, might stay a secret for the ages.
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