A “rare” 4,000-year-old sarcophagus carved from a log is discovered by ‘accident’ in a golf course lake

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In what has been considered an extraordinary chance find, during maintenance work on the lake of a golf course in Lincolnshire county, in the east of the United Kingdom, a “rare” wooden sarcophagus of the Bronze Age containing the remains of a man and a perfectly preserved ax.

According informs the York Archaeological Fund, during the maintenance work carried out in summer 2018 on the lake of the Tetney golf course, the workers were surprised to find in the background the old coffin of three meters long by one wide, carved from the trunk of an oak about 4,000 years.

Inside the sarcophagus the archaeologists found the remains of a man arranged on a topsoil of juniper leaves and an ax, which is considered to be more a symbol of authority than a practical tool. These elements, as well as the complexity and effort invested in the coffin, make researchers think that the burial belongs to a person of high social status.

According to the scientists, the coffin was carved using a construction technique known as ‘split wood’, which consists of first splitting the log lengthwise “to create a half log, or a slightly larger log, to carve, rather than hollow out a whole tree from scratch. “

So far, only about 12 axes and 65 sarcophagi are known in the UK like those found on the golf course, a shortage mainly due to the rapid degradation of the wood. For this reason, experts hope that the burial will shed new light on burial practices in the Bronze Age.

After carrying out a preservation work ‘in situ’, the find was transferred to the facilities of the Archaeological Fund of York, where the restoration work on the pieces is carried out. Once these are concluded, the burial will become part of the Collection Museum of the city of Lincoln.

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