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Red Glass Bead

This red glass bead was found in a Bell Barrow at Wilsford, found in the corner of a display, it may seem unremarkable but really it has an interesting story behind it.

The bead was most likely made between 2500BC - 1000BC and is possibly one of the oldest pieces of glass work of this kind in Europe (or maybe the world). Glass making in this era and location was likely discovered by accident from a bi-product of metalworking or the production of faience, a type of ancient ceramic made with mainly sand or quartz and then glazed.

Found amongst many other items such as a greenstone battle-axe, a bone tube, possibly human (it has been completely smoothed making the type of bone unrecognisable) and a 41 inch boar tusk making up the burial site of a tall, stout man, likely the leader of the village/settlement that this barrow was discovered in.

Written by Sam Donovan, Duke of Edinburgh Award student

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