|15 November 2011
Early Bronze Age cist excavated on Dartmoor
An early Bronze Age burial cist containing cremated bones and material dating back 4,000 years has been excavated on Dartmoor (Devon, England). Archaeologists uncovered items from the site on Whitehorse Hill including a woven bag or basket and amber beads. Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) said the discovery could be one of the most important archaeological finds in 100 years.
Archaeologists uncovered cremated human bone and a burnt textile woven bag or basket with stitching on it. The receptacle contained shale disc beads, amber spherical beads and a circular textile band. All the items were taken to the Wiltshire Conservation Service laboratory for micro-excavation, which DNPA said revealed a "wealth of information that does not normally survive".
The peat and pollen surrounding the cist are due to be analysed and carbon-dated to provide evidence of vegetation and climate at the time of the burial, and the items will be analysed to reveal how they were made and what materials were used.
It is the first excavation of a Dartmoor cist for nearly 100 years, although it is known that about 200 exist on the moor. The cist is to be rebuilt once analysis is concluded.
Edited from BBC News (15 November 2011)
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