Revealed, 4,000-Year-Old Tomb of the Warrior King; Dig Unearths a Wealth of Bronze Age Treasures

Daily Mail (London), August 12, 2009 | Go to article overview

Revealed, 4,000-Year-Old Tomb of the Warrior King; Dig Unearths a Wealth of Bronze Age Treasures


Byline: Maureen Culley

WITH a razor-edged bronze blade and golden trim, it was not just a deadly weapon - but a symbol of fabulous wealth.

And it probably belonged to a warrior chief who ruled and roamed the wilds of Scotland 4,000 years ago.

The Bronze Age dagger was one of the items unearthed at an ancient burial site at the village of Forteviot near Perth.

And last night archaeologists hailed it a 'spectacular' discovery that will shed new light on the lifestyles and death rituals of our ancient forefathers.

The experts were stunned when they unearthed an early Bronze Age grave at the Scottish royal centre. Describing the discovery of an intact 4,000-year-old burial chamber as 'exceptional,' they said the outcome was beyond their expectation.

Forteviot occupies a special place in Scotland's history as the site where King Kenneth MacAlpin, one of the first Kings of a united Scotland, died in AD 858, and is regarded as the most important royal centre in a fledgling Scottish nation.

Archaeologists from the universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen joined forces as part of the Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot (SERF) project to research the site.

Their hopes were realised last week when a massive fourton stone covering the chamber was lifted by a crane.

Yesterday, they revealed that the huge capstone had sealed the grave so well that organic materials had survived intact.

Other finds, beside the dagger, include various metal objects buried alongside an important Bronze Age individual.

The team also came across a leather bag, strange wooden objects and other plant matter which may represent floral tributes. Large portions of the birch bark coffin survived as well, while the body itself had been laid on a bed of quartz pebbles in sand.

SERF co-director Dr Kenneth Brophy said: 'The high quality of preservation is virtually unique in Britain and is of exceptional importance for understanding the centuries when metals were first introduced into Scotland. …

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