Treasure Inquest on the Amesbury Archer

The Coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon (Mr David Masters) held an inquest in Amesbury, Wiltshire on August 19th, 2002, and declared the objects buried with the Amesbury Archer as treasure.
 
In May archaeologists were stunned by the discovery of the richest Early Bronze Age burial in Britain just a few miles from Stonehenge. The 35-50 year old man had ten times as many objects buried with him than any other person of this date, about 4,300 years ago. Until then archaeologists had not imagined that there were such wealthy and powerful people at this time.
 
Dubbed ‘the Amesbury Archer’ because of the archery kit buried with him, the dead man also had a pair of gold earrings. Under the 1996 Treasure Act any object at least 300 years old which has a metallic content of which at least 10% by weight is of precious metal (gold and silver) is treasure.
 
The excavator, Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology, said ‘the earrings are likely to be 90% gold. This style of jewellery has only been found in England and Scotland. Where the gold came from is not yet known; Ireland, Spain or Wales are all possible sources. What is certain is that the earrings were precious and exotic. Most people would never have seen gold before.’
 
The story took another twist after the excavations had finished. The archaeologists were confident that the burial of a 25-30 year old man near to the Archer’s was of the same date. What the archaeologists did not expect was, as the skeleton was being cleaned in the laboratory, the discovery of a pair of gold earrings inside the man’s jaw.
 
Dr Fitzpatrick added ‘the new earrings are the same style as the Archer’s. Only half a dozen finds of these earrings have ever been made before. Yet here, side by side, are the graves of two men with these symbols of power. We will be looking to DNA analyses to say if these two men were linked genetically.’

A second set of gold earrings were found inside the individual's jaw, whilst being cleaned in the laboratoryA second set of gold earrings were found inside the individual's jaw, whilst being cleaned in the laboratory