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4,000-year-old Skeleton Found Wearing Gold Necklace
April 28, 2013

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Archaeologists have unearthed a 4,000-year-old skeleton of a woman not far from modern-day London. The items found with the burial, and the way in which the body was buried, have led the archaeologists to conclude that she was an important person indeed.

Acid in the soil has degraded the bones, so analysis of the woman's DNA or radiocarbon dating aren't possible. Still, the archaeologists know that she was a woman and that she was about 35 years old when she died, between 2500 B.C. and 2200 B.C. This was about the time that Stonehenge was built.

A gold necklace was found around the woman's neck. The necklace was also made of lignite, a coal-like material. Archaeologists also found amber buttons and fasteners aligned in a row, suggesting that they were part of the clothes in which the woman was buried.

The care with which burial was taken, along with the materials used to make the adornments (and that they were not to be found locally at the time), suggest to the archaeologists that the woman was very important in her community, perhaps a princess or a queen.

The skeleton is thought to be that of a woman belonging to the Beaker culture, a Western European culture named for the shape of items they left behind.

The excavation is at the quarry in the village of Horton. The archaeologists have found other ancient remains there, including flint tools from the late Ice Age.

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