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The Archer's Burial
When he died, the Amesbury Archer was 35-45 years old. His mourner's buried him on his left-hand side with his face to the north, and with his legs bent. His grave was large and rectangular in shape and probably had a timber lining. Buried alongside him were the accoutrements of a hunter, and symbols of status.His grave may have been covered by a round barrow common at this time (Early Bronze Age, 2,300BC).
Some of the objects found in the grave hint at how he was dressed or adorned when he was buried. On his forearm there was a slate wristguard to protect the arm from the recoil of an archer's longbow. Next to the wristguard was a bone pin that may have held a piece of clothing such as a leather cloak or mantle. Partly covered by his torso was a copper knife which may have been worn in a sheath on the chest.
Within touching distance of the man's face were two Beaker pots, a red deer spatula used for working flints, boars tusks, a cache of flints, and another smaller tanged copper knife (a tang is a protrusion which is used to fix the blade to the knife's shaft). Some or all of these finds are likely to have been in a small bag or container. The flints included scrapers, arrowheads, other tools, what may be a strike-a-light, and flakes that may have been blanks for arrows.
Behind the man's back lay another Beaker pot, more boars' tusks, another cache of flint tools and flakes. Next to them was a cushion stone, upon which the Archer could work metal.
Scattered through the grave but at a slightly higher level were 16 barbed and tanged arrowheads. The height at which the arrowheads were found hint that they were lying over the body rather than having been placed on the floor of the grave.
Two more Beaker pots lay at the man's feet. By his knees there was another wristguard, another small tanged copper knife, a shale beltring, and two gold 'basket earrings.' These finds suggest that some pieces of costume were placed in the grave by the body rather than on it. Only the non-organic objects survive. The leather wood, and human flesh has long since decayed.
It is likely that the items were placed in the Archer's grave for his use in the next life. He had everything that a person would need to survive - clothing, tools, weapons, pottery and spare flints to make new tools.