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Roundway Archer

Beaker from Roundway Down.

A 3D model of the Roundway Beaker is featured on the BBC Civiliations Augmented Reality App – available for modern smartphones and devices running Apple and Android. The model was created by the Bolzmann Institute in Vienna during our loan to the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes exhibition at MAMUZ Museum in 2016 and 2017.

The Roundway Archer was buried on the crest of Roundway Down overlooking Devizes. He lived soon after Stonehenge was completed and while Silbury Hill was being raised. The objects buried in his grave show how prized materials were exchanged across Europe.

In front of the Archer was a large dagger, made of almost pure copper which probably came from central Europe. Close to his head was a single, carefully worked, flint arrowhead, with a tang to fit onto the shaft of the arrow and barbs for piercing flesh. He would have been buried with a bow and quiver, but these rotted away soon after the burial. On his arm was a stone wristguard, which would once have been mounted on a leather strap. The wristguard protected the inside of the Archer’s arm from the recoil of the bow string. The stone was made of jadeite, possibly from Spain, and was probably thought to have magical healing properties. At his feet was a single beaker, which may once have held a fermented milky drink. Although made from local clays, the decoration is similar to beakers found in graves on the Continent.

The Archer was buried on his side in a crouched position, perhaps as though asleep or ready for rebirth. He was buried with objects that displayed the power and authority he held in life. These included his archery set, a beaker and a copper dagger. These objects show links across Europe, from Spain to Central Europe. However, we know from scientific analysis that he had grown up living in an area with chalky soil, and had probably always lived locally.

From his burial place there are long distance views to the henge at Marden and Stonehenge. Today, little can be seen of the burial mound, but it is close to the Devizes Millennium White Horse.



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