Global interest as ancient coffin found at Lincolnshire golf course

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 13, 2021 09:05

A 4,000-year-old coffin containing the remains of a ‘high-status individual’ has been found buried at a Lincolnshire golf course in a story that is receiving global attention.

The extraordinary story, which has only been revealed now, began when workers were digging in a pond at Tetney Golf Club with an excavator during the drought of the summer of 2018, and found an exposed coffin broken in pieces.

An archaeologist arrived the next day, inspected the timbers and concluded it was a log coffin, made of a hollowed-out tree that had been buried under a mound, “which would have required the efforts of many people, not just family members”. Using log coffins was “an unusual form of burial” that had briefly been the practice 4,000 years ago in the Bronze Age, said Tim Allen, an archaeologist with Historic England.

The coffin contained the remains of a 4,000-year-old man who was buried with a well-preserved axe.

They believe the man in the coffin was high-status because his body was cushioned with plants and raised over the grave.

The axe found alongside the man is another significant discovery due to how rare it is and experts believe it is more a symbol of authority than a practical tool.

The axe is one of only 12 known to have been discovered in Britain.

The bones of the man reveal that he was five foot nine — quite tall for that era — and that he most likely died in his late 30s or early 40s.

The golf club, along with everyone else involved in the story, agreed to keep quiet about it until preservation work at York Archaeological Trust, and analysis, was completed – a process that took more than two years, and received £70,000 in funding from Historic England.

Conservationists are still deciding whether to try to put the coffin back together, said Ian Panter, the head of conservation at the trust.

Lindsey Cawrey, from Lincolnshire County Council, said she could not wait to see the ancient relic at the Lincoln Collection Museum.

“The preservation of the axe and handle, and the coffin timbers, is astonishing, and we’re looking forward to being able to share the story of the discovery, and the results of the scientific analysis, with researchers and visitors to the museum when the finds are conserved and ready to come to Lincoln,” she said.

Mark Casswell, the owner of Tetney Golf Club, said his family had never imagined “there was a whole other world there buried under the fields.”

“It’s amazing how well-preserved the axe is with its handle still there like it was made yesterday,” he said.

“We’ll have a nice photograph of it up on the clubhouse wall, all those years that people have been living here working the land. It’s certainly something to think about while you’re playing your way round the course,” Casswell added.

This incredible story has received worldwide coverage.

‘Unearthed at a British Golf Course: A Log Coffin From the Bronze Age’, reports the New York Times, ‘The secrets of a 4,000-year-old man discovered by builders buried under Tetney golf course’, adds Albania News and ‘Rare 4,000-year-old coffin on display in Britain,’ writes Youm7 in Egypt.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 13, 2021 09:05
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1 Comment

  1. djm September 16, 17:18

    Another covid fatality………..

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