Metalworker or Shaman: Early Bronze Age Upton Loveli G2a Burial

By Shell, Colin A. | Antiquity, June 2000 | Go to article overview

Metalworker or Shaman: Early Bronze Age Upton Loveli G2a Burial


Shell, Colin A., Antiquity


The Early Bronze Age barrow, Upton Lovell G2a, on Upton Lovell Down near the south western edge of Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, was one of the first to be investigated by William Cunnington (Cunnington 1806). His excavation in May 1802 revealed an extended primary inhumation of a stout male, accompanied near the feet by a large number of perforated bone points, three flint axes and a number of stones. These included fragments of a broken stone battle axe. At the chest was a complete stone battle axe and a circular stone with bevelled edges and polished surface. Also found were a jet or lignite ring and biconical beads, and a small bronze awl. The grave was listed by Piggott (1938: grave 82) as one of the burials defining his Wessex Culture.

By its extended nature, and the association of many perforated bone pendants and natural hollow flint nodules, the burial was interpreted by Piggott (1962) as that of a shaman. Following this view, the present display of the grave-goods in the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Museum at Devizes is accompanied by a full-size artist's impression of a shaman figure holding aloft the round bevelled stone from the grave group, with the lower cloak hem fringed with bone points. Perhaps more importantly, Piggott (1973: 344, 362) also recognized that various stones from this grave, including the polished circular stone, formed an early metalworker's toolkit, a virtually unique find for the Early Bronze Age in England.

Amongst the toolkit stones, Thurnham (1870: 425f) previously had noticed the presence of gold traces on a small slate burnisher (Cunnington 1806: plate III 2; DM 1406; FIGURE 1), raising the possibility that the tools may have been used in the manufacture of some of the well-known Wessex Early Bronze Age (EBA) goldwork. These gold ornaments have been argued as being the output of one person or a small workshop (Coles & Taylor 1971). It should be noted that gold traces have been found also on a number of EBA whetstones(1). The main problem with the presence of gold on an ancient object is proving it is contemporary with the object's original use and not applied since excavation.

[Figure 1 ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The gold traces on the slate burnisher (FIGURE 2) are thin streaks that are consistent with its use to finish the edge of a piece of thin gold sheet of the type used for the EBA goldwork of the region. The tool itself appears to have been used principally as a coarse burnisher, from the use-wear evidence at its lower edge (FIGURE 1), with goldworking not necessarily its primary function. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Metalworker or Shaman: Early Bronze Age Upton Loveli G2a Burial
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.