Wednesday, 27. March 2019, 17:30

The grave at Whitehorse Hill and its finds in their European context

Anthony Harding (University of Exeter)

The grave excavated at Whitehorse Hill on Dartmoor, south-west England, in 2011 produced a number of remarkable finds, including a range of objects of organic materials, and beads and studs of tin.

The cremated remains lay on an animal pelt, identified as coming from a bear; lying partly on the pelt was a basketry container, made from lime bast, originally containing a necklace of shale, amber, and tin beads; there were also four wooden studs or spools made from spindle wood (probably ear or lip ornaments), a copper-alloy pin, a braided band with tin studs, and fragments from a textile and animal-skin object which itself lay under the pelt, the textile being made from nettle fibres.  Most of these objects have no close parallels, but they probably indicate to us what was once available to the Bronze Age inhabitants of southern England, and beyond.

The tin objects are of especial interest, since even in this tin-rich area few prehistoric tin objects have ever been found.  The paper will consider other finds of tin, and look at the broader picture of contact between Devon and Cornwall, where the richest deposits of tin occur, and the wider world of Bronze Age Europe.