Archeology professors and students from a British university found a wooden coffin built some 4,000 years ago. The discovery site? A golf course.
Archaeologists at the University of Sheffield have revealed that inside the coffin were the remains of a man’s body and also an extremely rare axe, believed to have only 12 others like it in the UK.
Initial research reveals that the ax would not be used as a tool to carry out daily work, but as a symbol of authority to mark a kind of social hierarchy.
The three-meter-long and three-meter-wide coffin was constructed from tree trunks and, inside it, leaves were used as a lining to support the body of the person who was buried.
According to the researchers, this type of burial was only granted to people with high status in populations who lived in the Bronze Age. It is estimated that there are only 65 wooden coffins used in this period of history, since this material hardly lasts for so long.
“The organic material was preserved in humid and airless conditions inside the hollow trunk of the tree. This can give us information about the plants that were chosen to cushion the body and even the time of year when this man was buried”, highlights Dr. Hugh Willmott, archaeologist at the University of Sheffield, in release disclosed by the institution.
Specialists took great care that the object did not disintegrate or suffer too much damage when exposed to the sun and air. After a period of storage in a refrigerated environment, the coffin was transferred to the York Archaeological Trust, an American institution that focuses on research and preservation of archaeological objects.
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Historic England, a British public agency that helps preserve historic sites in England, participated in actions to protect, analyze and transport the objects found at the Tetney Golf Club, in addition to providing financial support for these activities.
“It took teamwork from everyone involved, as well as funding from Historic England, to ensure that the opportunity was not lost. Bronze Age wooden coffins are rare, they survive after their discovery is even more special,” says Tim Allen, archaeologist at Historic England.
*Intern of the R7 under the supervision of Pablo Marques