5,000-year-old Stonehenge-era drum and three children found in England

The archaeologists say the artifact is of deep significance if only we could decipher it.

And if you know more about where it came from? The tomb, the three buried children, their bones entwined like vines?

“Amazing, isn’t it?” said Duncan Garrow, a professor of prehistory at the University of Reading who studied the object.

“What is it?” he asked. “What does that mean?”

The chalk sculpture, sometimes referred to as a drum – although it’s actually just a solid carved piece of stone – was found many miles north of Stonehenge on what is now the estate near the village of Burton Agnes in East Yorkshire, as part of a routine dig in 2015 , which was required by the government before owners could erect a structure on a plowed field.

Its exact location is being kept secret for now, as is its discovery until now.

Mark Allen, Founder of All archeologywho discovered the tomb and drum, told the Washington Post that his team had guessed, based on geological surveys, that they stood on a circular burial mound, or burial mound, dug into the chalk.

They thought it must be old. What they found amazed them, Allen said.

Within the tomb were the remains of three children, ranging in age from 3 to 12 years. The two youngest stood nose to nose, their hands seemingly locked. The eldest child was placed with his or her arms around her.

“They were cuddling,” Allen said.

“It was quite a poignant thing to see,” he said.

Allen said it appears the three died at the same time, although further analysis is forthcoming.

If the scientists are lucky, they will recover useful DNA to find out if the three are related, and maybe more.

Allen wondered could it have been an epidemic? A terrible accident? A drowning?

“It almost feels like something dramatic happened as the community came together to bury the three like this,” he said.

There are no obvious signs of trauma.

One might ask, were the deaths casualties?

“Three kids all dying together would raise your eyebrows,” Garrow said. “But we don’t know.” He was quick to say there was no evidence of foul play.

Using radiocarbon evidence, archaeologists have dated the tomb to the approximate time of Stonehenge’s construction, between 3005 and 2890 BC. Dated

There is evidence that the burial site was visible – and cared for – for 1,000 years.

This discovery comes more than a century after three other chalk sculptures – almost identical – were found 15 miles away in another burial site, this time with a single child.

Titled “Folk drums‘, excavated in 1889, they are ‘some of the most famous and enigmatic ancient objects ever unearthed in Britain,’ the researchers say.

Curator of the British Museum Neil Wilkins said: “We’ve waited over 100 years for another one of these amazing objects to show up, and for it to show up – again – with children is amazing.”

The newly discovered drum will be part of the “The World of Stonehenge‘ exhibition which opened on Thursday.

The researchers are fascinated. What is the meaning of threes? Three kids, one drum at one location. Three drums, one child after the other.

The Burton Agnes sculpture was placed next to the eldest child’s head. As grave goods? A talisman? Wilkin and the experts don’t know.

Wilkin said the drum’s carvings — spirals and triangles and a type of hourglass symbol that archaeologists call a “butterfly motif” — are reminiscent of objects found at contemporaneous Neolithic sites: at Ness of Brodgar on the Scottish Orkney Islands and on Newgrange Gang grave in Ireland.

These repeating patterns and styles suggest that the Neolithic communities communicated with one another and perhaps shared their belief in afterlife, religion, rituals, and an understanding of their place in the world.

Neolithic Britain were early farmers who tended livestock, as well as hunting and gathering. They created ceremonial circles, many of them, the most famous being stonehenge. They knew their stars, astronomy, and basic geometry. And they had boats – watercraft that connected them to the European continent and Ireland.

Archaeologists have long wondered why Neolithic artists didn’t draw animals or humans on sculptures like the burial drums. Findings of material from the Stonehenge burial sites are limited – bone pins, mace heads, carved flints.

“I can draw a stick figure. Why not? Was there a ban on it? Any reason they didn’t?” asked Wilkin, adding that if the people of the time had been sophisticated enough to design and build Stonehenge, they could have drawn a bear, a wolf, or a person.

Neolithic tombs in Britain containing human bones are quite rare. The ancients here were usually cremated or probably left in their version of a ‘sky burial’ for the carrion crows to pick clean, the bones later collected or not.

But three children together in such a pose – unprecedented.

Scientists wonder why the chalk drum has three hastily added holes at the top that aren’t as well-crafted as the carvings that may mark the presence of the three bodies in the tomb.

Allen said he only had his imagination to move on: “Maybe there was some horrible accident that shocked the community, that was dangerous to the community and they are rushing to take the kids to the grave.”

Both to protect the dead – and yourself.

Beside the chalk drum in the tomb was a long bone needle that could have held a shroud and a clay ball for a child to play with.

“The ball is the beauty and it gives me goosebumps just looking at it because I have a toddler at home and I can imagine him playing with something like that or holding something like that ball,” Wilkin said. “It just has the scale and size that seems very childish, if that makes sense. Yes, I find these things very moving objects.”

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