Charred Remains May Rewrite Ancient History

Bronze Age find includes fur, possibly from extinct bear
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2014 4:35 PM CDT
The photo shows Dartmoor, an area of moorland in South Devon, England, where the remains were found.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A rare 4,000-year-old find may rewrite Bronze Age history and prove that ancient peoples were hipper than we thought, the Guardian reports. Archaeologists have dug up a box on a British moor that includes a small person's charred remains and many burial items—including 34 tin studs and a tin bead, wooden ear studs, jewelry, and a unique fiber belt fringed with leather. Cooler still: It's all wrapped in fur that may be from a bear species that went extinct in the UK at least 1,000 years ago.

"I am consumed with excitement about this find," said Jane Marchand, the project's chief archaeologist. Historically, it's important because the metal and wood items are among the country's oldest, and organic material rarely survives this long. More neat tidbits: The remains were buried about 2,000 feet above sea level, far from other prehistoric habitation sites, and Marchand says the body was a young woman's because it's slight and buried with jewelry. The BBC reports on another find, this one in Scotland: ancient "rock art" (think holes in a rock) that may signify rituals, star-mapping, or the doodlings of bored shepherds. (Read more Bronze Age stories.)

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