The Prince of Wales (styled as The Duke of Cornwall in the South West) has gifted a number of archaeological finds to Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.
The artefacts were excavated from a prehistoric cremation burial unearthed within a cist at Whitehorse Hill, Dartmoor, on land which comprises part of the Duchy of Cornwall estate.
This gift is made as the items go on display to the public at Plymouth Museum and City Art Gallery from 13th September to 13th December 2014 in an exhibition entitled ‘Whitehorse Hill: A Prehistoric Dartmoor Discovery’
The pieces are thought to be the most significant group of prehistoric finds ever recovered from Dartmoor and their sheer existence is of international importance.
“The excavation of the Whitehorse Hill burial cist has produced the most important assemblage of grave goods ever found on Dartmoor. A rare human dimension is added to this 4000 year old burial by the extraordinary range of personal possessions which accompanied the burial,” Jane Marchand, Senior Archaeologist, Dartmoor National Park Authority noted.
The cist was the burial location of the cremated remains of a person aged between 15-25 years old. The person died nearly four thousand years ago and their remains were swathed in animal hide and buried along with a number of items.
The items include a delicately woven wrist or arm band distinctively studded with tin beads, a basket which has been used as the source for a replica at Stonehenge and a collection of over 200 beads some made from amber and some from shale along with four wooden studs used as decoration for the ears and lips.
The items give a glimpse into the lives of those who lived during the Bronze Age.
Alastair Martin, Secretary and Keeper of Records at the Duchy, commented: “We are delighted to be able to support this project and the conservation of these tremendously significant finds through their gift to Plymouth Museum.”
The artefacts were discovered during the first major archaeological excavation of a burial site on Dartmoor for 100 years. The area was found 10 years ago when a stone fell out of the cist that was obscured by a mound of peat.
“It’s a great privilege for the Museum and Art Gallery to accept them and be trusted with their duty of care. We do so with great thanks to His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall,” Peter Smith, Deputy Leader, Plymouth Council, commented in regards to the donation.
Photo Credits: Dartmoor National Park Authority