Amesbury Bronze Age Burials

The site at Boscombe, nr Amesbury, WiltshireThe site at Boscombe, nr Amesbury, WiltshireThe bones of seven people dating back to the Early Bronze Age, c2,300BC, were found in a grave at Boscombe Down. Also found were sherds from seven Beaker pots – the largest number ever discovered in one grave.
The remains of the three adults, one teenager and three children were found in one grave about half a mile from that of the Archer. It is very unusual to find so many people buried in one grave in southern England from this time.
The grave also contained flint tools, five flint arrowheads and a bone pendant.
The remains were excavated in early May by archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology based near Salisbury, and QinetiQ the science consultancy company, during the digging of a trench for a new water pipe.
The grave had survived by good luck: a trench for an electricity cable had already cut through part of it, and the Wessex Water trench that led to the discovery had just missed the other side.
The remains of the six individualsThe remains of the six individuals It is possible the bones are those of people from different generations, as the grave seems to have been reopened to allow further burials to be made. The bones of the earlier burials were mixed up but those of the later burials, a man and a child, were undisturbed.
Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick, who managed the excavation, said: "This new find is really unusual. It is exceptionally rare to find the remains of so many people in one grave like this in southern England. The number of Beaker pots in the grave, seven, exceeds those in the grave of the Amesbury Archer, which had five. A bone toggle used for fastening clothing Bone toggle found in the grave
"The grave is fascinating because we are seeing the moment when Britain was moving from the Stone Age into the Bronze Age, around 2,300BC. The large number of bodies placed in this grave is something more commonly found in the Stone Age, but the Beaker style pottery is found in Bronze Age burials.
A bone toggle used for fastening clothingA bone toggle used for fastening clothing
These finds show how important the area of modern Amesbury was at the time that Stonehenge was being built." The new discovery was found almost exactly a year after the discovery of Archer during an excavation in advance of a housing scheme at Boscombe Down. His grave was the richest found in Britain from its time, containing about 100 items, more than ten times as many objects as any other burial site from this time, including hair tresses that are the earliest worked gold found in this country.