The Amesbury Archer

4,000 YEAR OLD ARCHER WITH GOLDEN EARRINGS

The richest Early Bronze Age burial in Britain has been found by astonished archaeologists.

The grave of a mature man was found near Amesbury, Wiltshire and contains far more objects than any other burial of this date, about 2,300 BC.

He has been identified as an archer on the basis of stone arrow heads and stone wristguards that protected the arm from the recoil of the bow. There were also stone tool kits for butchering carcasses, and for making more arrowheads if needed.

According to Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick, Project Manager for Wessex Archaeology, what makes the find unique is the quantity and quality of the finds. 'As well as the archery equipment, the man had three copper knives and a pair of gold earrings. We think that the earrings were wrapped around the ear rather than hanging from the ear lobe. These are some of the earliest kinds of metal object found in Britain. They were very rare and the metals they were made from may have been imported. The fact that so many valuable objects have been found together is unique. This association is the most important thing about the find'.

The grave was found in the course of excavations on behalf of Bloor Homes and Persimmon Homes South Coast. Ron Hatchett, Strategic Land Director of Bloor Homes said 'we have worked closely with the archaeologists and have altered our plans to protect known archaeological sites'. Paul Bedford Senior Land and Planning Manager for the Persimmon region added 'it is impossible to predict a unique and exciting find like this.'

The area around Stonehenge is famous for its rich Bronze Age burials. Andrew Lawson, Chief Executive of Wessex Archaeology, points out that this burial is several hundred years earlier than any of them. 'It raises the question of who this archer was and why his mourners buried so many valuable things with him?'

Detail and interpetation of the Archer's graveClick to view an image of the Archer's copper knives Click to view an image of the Archer's copper knives Click to see an image on one of the Archer's earrings Click to see a close-up of one of the decorated beaker fragments Click to see a close-up of one of the decorated beaker fragments Click to see a close-up of one of the decorated beaker fragments Click to see a close-up of one of the decorated beaker fragments Click to see a close-up of the Archer's wristguards. Click to see a close-up of the Archer's wristguards. Image not yet available Image not yet available Image not yet available Image not yet available Cushion Stone