Person of Interest: The King of Stonehenge

The Amesbury Archer

In 2007 Wessex Archaeology discovered the richest grave of the early Bronze Age in Amesbury, Wiltshire, England. Called the King of Stonehenge or the Amebury Archer, he was approximately 40-45 years old when he died. Analysis of his teeth revealed that he had lived as a child in the Alps, most likely Switzerland, around 2300 BC. His kneecap had been destroyed which caused his left leg to be frozen at the knee, requiring him to walk with a limp. An abscess in his teeth and an infection in his bones left him in constant pain.

What is most remarkable about the find was the wealth of the burial. The grave contained about 100 items including pottery, arrowheads, and gold ornaments. The gold hair or ear clips that he wore were the first example of worked gold found in Britain. The three copper knives from Spain were also rare. The source of his wealth could be related to his ability to work gold or craft weaponry.  He wore an archer’s wristguards and had the tools to craft arrows buried with him. In general, he brought new technology to Britain which was very profitable. He might even have worked on the stone phase of building  Stonehenge.  Next week’s Person of Interest: Meet the Archer’s Companion.

This weekend, My favorite old paintings of Stonehenge.  Rita Bay

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