LONDON (AP) — Archaeologists who last year unearthed the remains of a Bronze Age archer at Stonehenge said Wednesday they have found six more bodies near the mysterious ring of ancient monoliths.
The remains of four adults and two children were found about half a mile from that of the archer, dubbed "The King of Stonehenge" by Britain's tabloid press. Archaeologists said he came from Switzerland and may have been involved in building the monument.
Radiocarbon tests will be done to find out more precise dates for the burials but the group is believed to have lived around 2300 B.C., during the building of Stonehenge at Amesbury, 75 miles southwest of London, said Wessex Archaeology, which excavated the site.
The latest bones discovered are about the same age of those of the archer, said Wessex Archaeology.
"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," said Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology.
"The grave is fascinating because we are seeing the moment when Britain was moving from the Stone Age into the Bronze Age, around 2300 B.C."
Wessex Archaeology said it is possible the bones are those of people from different generations, as the grave seems to have been reopened to allow further burials.
The grave contained four pots belonging to the Beaker Culture that flourished in the Swiss Alps during the Bronze Age, some flint tools, one flint arrowhead and a bone toggle for fastening clothing, Wessex Archaeology said.
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The large number of bodies placed in this grave is something more commonly found in the Stone Age, but the Beaker style pottery is characteristic of Bronze Age burials.
The archer was identified by the flint arrowheads found by his body. Archaeologists said some 100 artifacts found in his exceptionally rich grave, discovered about three miles from Stonehenge, indicate he was a man of stature and likely involved in constructing the monument.
Although the indigenous British originally came from mainland Europe, they settled thousands of years before the arrival of the archer, who clearly belonged to a different culture, marked by a new style of pottery, the use of barbed flat arrow heads, copper knives and small gold ornaments.
His grave contained teeth and bones as well as two gold hair tresses, three copper knives, flint arrowheads, wrist guards and pottery. The copper knives came from Spain and France. The gold dated to as early as 2470 B.C., the earliest dated gold objects found in Britain.
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