Bronze Age Chieftain’s Remains Found Beneath U.K. Skate Park
By Alex Fox/Smithsonianmag.com
Archaeologists have unearthed the millennia-old bones of two men—one of whom who could be a Bronze Age chieftan—beneath a skateboard park near Lechlade in southwest England.
Artifacts buried alongside the likely leader suggest he was a high-status member of the Beaker culture, reports the Independent’s David Keys. An older man estimated to be in his 50s or 60s was buried in a seated position nearby, reports Laura Geggel for Live Science. Researchers discovered the skeletons, dated back to 2200 B.C., in 2017 while excavating a circular burial mound ahead of the park’s construction.
The Beakers—named for their bell-shaped ceramics, according to Encyclopedia Britannica—were typically buried with the same kit of funerary items: a beaker pot, a copper dagger, a stone wrist guard used in archery, fire-starting materials and amber beads.
Highly regarded members of Beaker society were often buried alongside a single cowhide. Interestingly, the man discovered in Lechlade boasted four such cowhide “rugs.”
As the Independent explains, “Each ‘rug’ would have been an impressive and valued possession—an entire cowhide complete with the animal’s hooves at its four corners and its skull.”