Bronze Age coffin and ax found on golf course

Bronze Age coffin and ax found on golf course
Bronze Age coffin and ax found on golf course

British archaeologists have examined an early Bronze Age burial discovered during the reconstruction of a pond on a golf course near Grimsby. The Guardian newspaper writes about it.

A 4,000-year-old wooden coffin the size of a telephone booth contains not only human remains, but also a well-preserved ax with a wooden handle. This ax is very rare, since wooden handles usually rot, but in this case, the peat bog contributed to the conservation.

The dimensions of the coffin are quite large - 3 m long and 1 m wide. It was dug up in July 2018, when in hot weather work was carried out on the drained pond to clean it. Archaeologists have established that the coffin was made from an oak trunk hollowed out from the inside. Then the body of the buried man was lowered into this coffin on a bed of branches, and a gravel mound was erected over the grave - all this indicates the rather high status of the deceased in the society of the Bronze Age.

After the coffin was discovered, it took a lot of effort to prevent its rapid destruction. Professional archaeologists happened to be nearby. “Fortunately, when this burial was found, I was working with a group of staff and students from the Department of Archeology on the next excavation,” explained Hugh Wilmott, an archeology professor at the University of Sheffield. “It was a brilliant experience for our students. They saw what can be achieved in a short time, and I am very glad that we are close."

The ax is an extremely rare find, especially since both its wooden handle and its stone blade have survived. Only 12 examples of such axes have been found throughout Britain, and archaeologists tend to believe that this is more a symbol of power than a tool for practical use. After a year of storage in a refrigerator, the coffin was moved to the York Archaeological Fund, where work continues on its processing and conservation. Only two years later, this coffin can be put on public display.

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