Details of rare Bronze Age casket found in golf course pond revealed

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Size of a telephone booth, coffin believed to be 4000 years old and includes an ax well preserved among the remains. The coffin containing the remains of a man and a perfectly preserved ax, were found by chance during work at the golf course of Tetney.

The coffin containing the remains of a man and a perfectly preserved ax, were found by chance during work at the golf course of Tetney. Photography: Charlotte Graham

Golfers always try to avoid everything from bunkers, rough and water to other players’ putting lines. In Lincolnshire, the danger was almost an incredibly rare Bronze Age casket the size of a telephone booth.

Historic England revealed details of a remarkable find on Friday as work was underway on a golf pond in July 2018, in warm weather.

The log coffin, which is about 3 meters long by 1 meter, is said to be 4000 years old. Inside are the remains of a man, who was buried with an ax.

Archaeologists have established that the coffin was made by hollowing out an oak trunk. Plants were then used to cushion the body, and a mound of gravel was raised above the grave – practices that were only granted to people of high status in Bronze Age society.

Once the coffin was exposed, there was a race to prevent its rapid deterioration. Fortunately, there were archaeologists in the area.

Dr Hugh Wilmott, Senior Lecturer in European Historical Archeology at the University of Sheffield, said: “Fortunately, when the burial was found, myself and a team of staff and students from the Department of archeology were working on a nearby research and training dig.

“It has been a brilliant learning experience for our students to see what can be achieved in the short term and I am very happy that we were able to help.”

The ax is an extremely rare find, especially because its wooden handle survives as well as its stone head. Photography: Charlotte Graham

The ax is an extremely rare find, especially because its wooden handle survives as well as its stone head. This is just one of 12 known finds in Britain and archaeologists believe it was more of a symbol of authority than a practical tool.

The coffin is one of about 65 known in Great Britain. After a year in cold storage, it was transferred to the York Archaeological Trust, where it continues to undergo preservation work.

Ian Panter, conservation officer at the trust, said his team had expertise in conserving waterlogged finds: “We hope to preserve the ax within 12 months but the coffin, due to its size, will take at least two years to be fully treated. “

Once this operation is completed, the coffin will be transferred to the Collection Museum in Lincoln.

Lindsey Cawrey, executive advisor for culture at Lincolnshire County Council, said it was “such an exciting find” for the county and that she looked forward to seeing it in the museum’s collection.

She added, “The preservation of the ax and handle, and the coffin antlers, is amazing, and we look forward to being able to share the story of the discovery and the results of scientific analysis, with researchers and scientists. visitors to the museum when the finds are held and ready to be sent to Lincoln. We will be able to provide access to these important discoveries to future generations. “

The work to preserve the coffin, to prevent it from collapsing after being exposed to sun and air, was supported by nearly £ 70,000 in grants from Historic England.

The coffin was discovered at Tetney Golf Club near Grimsby. Club owner Mark Casswell said his family farmed there for years before opening the golf course.

“I never imagined there was a whole other world buried under the fields,” he said. “It’s amazing how well preserved the ax is with its handle still there like it was made yesterday. We’ll have a nice photo of it on the wall of the clubhouse.”


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