Archaeologists have discovered the first evidence in the British Isles of a holy man who was sacrificed to guide his chieftain through the hereafter.
The remains of a Bronze Age leader were found in a 4000-year-old cemetery in Gloucestershire alongside valuable carpets, a horde of guards and the body of a shaman in a sitting position against his master.
Archaeologists made the & # 39; unusual discovery & # 39; during a dig in Lechlade, Gloucestershire.
The captain in & # 39; e & # 39; impressive cemetery & # 39; was surrounded by goods – including a copper dagger, a wrist watchman & # 39; e archer and four carpets of carbide.
Sitting opposite him – about 6 feet away – another man was crawling to his side in a sitting position without a guide. Archaeologists believe that this was a holy man.
This is the first evidence that human sacrifice was practiced in the British Isles to provide spiritual guidance to leaders and to make their way through the hereafter.
An early Captain of Bronze Age, valuable carpets, a horde of goods and a sitting shaman who may have been a human sacrifice (pictured) were found in a 4,000-year-old cemetery
The site in Lechlade, Gloucestershire is now home to a skate park and a memorial hall after three years of excavations
The dig was carried out by Foundations Archeology prior to the & # 39; development of the new skate park and memorial hall – both are now open.
Shaman of the Bronze Age were holy men, healers and spiritual guides
Much like priests, a shaman was a guide, a confidant, and a holy man.
They were healed – not only mentally but physically – in the Bronze Age, the shaman was as much a doctor as a priest.
According to Andrej Kapcar of Masaryk University, the old shaman would treat trauma, serious injuries and illness.
They would deliver babies, make medicine, and perform surgery.
This is all in addition to her role as holy men and spiritual guides.
The investigators believe the two men were part of & # 39; e & # 39; Beaker culture & # 39; named for a type of bag that & # 39; s used during this time and a dominant culture in & # 39; an early Bronze Age Britain.
The couple in & # 39; s cemetery were probably descended from a group that had arrived in Britain a few hundred years earlier from & # 39; e Pontic-Caspian steppe in Eastern Europe.
Andy Hood of Foundations Archeology said cows were sometimes sacrificed to accompany the captain in the nines while mourning feasts on their meat.
He said it was unusual to discover so many cowhides in one tomb, suggesting that the captain was of great importance to his community.
The chief in this tomb is the first known to have been buried with metal weapons in Britain, and had goods hundreds of miles away, according to Mr Hood.
The captain in & # 39; e & # 39; impressive cemetery & # 39; was surrounded by goods – including a copper dagger, an archer's wrist guard and four carbohydrate rugs
This included a copper dagger, a whaling pommel, a wrist guard from an archery of polished green stone from the Lake District and a fire starter kit.
They could not work out how old the leader was, but said that the buried shaman sitting opposite him was in his & # 39; 50's & # 39; 60's.
It is the sitting position that the experts believe he was a sacrifice to have found shamans buried next to leaders in similar positions in Europe and Asia.
He was found upright with his legs hanging over a bullet and with his face to the captain.
& # 39; In anthropological terms, the idea of having a shaman as a saint would fit this context, because & # 39; this was a ceremonial and religious area for an important part of & # 39; a prehistory, & # 39; Mr Hood told The Times.
The Beaker community, which created the cemetery, appropriated an existing sacred site – it was built in & # 39; near & # 39; a course monument of & # 39; Stone Age dating from 3000 BC
Archaeologists made the & # 39; unusual discovery & # 39; during a dig in Lechlade, Gloucestershire, at the site of a future skate park and memorial hall
& # 39; In & # 39; & British Prehistory there is emerging evidence of periods of human sacrifice, which is a distinct possibility, & # 39; said Mr Hood.
The shaman was likely to be buried at the same time or directly after the chieftain, according to a report by The Independent, that didn't carry this story first.
His sitting position was part of a long tradition that holy men were buried that way – dating to around 9500BC in Russia and Ukraine.
People still used the site where the couple was buried for burial long after it was built – in fact, there was even an Anglo-Saxon cemetery on the site that suggested it was for thousands of years had holy connotations.
The captain and his shaman were at the height of their power 300 years after the Beaker people first appeared in Britain (around 2500 BC).
They were the most dominant group of people in the country, but continued to buy into Britain's pre-cup heritage using old cemeteries.
This included a copper dagger, a whale pump, an alarm from an archery of polished green stone from the Lake District and a fire starter kit
They could not work out how old the leader was, but said that the buried shaman sitting opposite him was in his & # 39; 50's & # 39; 60's. This is a stone armbag found by the couple and is likely an archer's wrist guard
The couple was landed at one of & # 39; s most mentally and ritually important places in southern Britain – a site where four rivers come together.
There were three pre-Beaker ceremonial monuments on one site and a substantial ceremonial enclosure that was up to half a mile long.
This trend of using the funeral site for thousands of years. By the time the captain was buried, it had been in use for more than 1,000 years.
Some 1,200 years after his funeral, four people in the late Bronze Age had cremated remnants that were on & # 39; a site was placed, and 700 years later, three Iron Age people used it as their last resting place, according to the Independent.
There was evidence of animal remains in the cemetery – articles that were likely to be slaughtered as a sacrifice to & # 39; e gods to help the captain in his evening life
The couple was buried at the site of an existing sacred site for stone age. There were ceremonies and burials on this site for a total of 5000 years – long after the captain was buried
Anglo-Saxon groups – 900 years after the Iron Age – were also buried there.
& # 39; Our research has been a rare opportunity to shed new light on a crucial period of & # 39; a British prehistory, & # 39; Hood told the Independent.
& # 39; What's more, it has allowed us to understand the extraordinary time depth of this ancient burial monument and its use by so many different cultures of & # 39; e Neolithic to the Iron Age. & # 39;
There is nothing left to see on the surface of the ancient site because of millennia of soil erosion and centuries of plowing – but it was the fact that there was no clear sign of a cemetery that 39; t the site could probably protect against treasure hunters.
Bell Beaker culture spread throughout Europe with new ideas and language
Between 4,700 and 4,400 years ago, a new bell-shaped pottery style spread across Western and Central Europe, and this period becomes the & # 39; Bell Beaker & # 39; called.
The period got its name because of the distinctive bell-shaped cups of pottery, decorated in horizontal zones by sophisticated postage stamps.
The decorated pots are almost all around Europe, and could be used as drinking vessels as ceremonial urns.
Probably originally from Spain, the Beaker people soon dispersed in central and western Europe in their search for metals.
But the wide variety of cup artifacts in Europe has difficult to define the pottery as derived from one distinctive culture.
A new study published in Nature suggests that Europe's Beaker culture spreads through two different mechanisms – the dissemination of ideas and migration.
Cup complex burial goods from the bar Sima III, Soria, Spain. The set includes cups of & # 39; the so-called & # 39; Maritime style & # 39;
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