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Upton Lovell Shaman

Buried in a barrow at Upton Lovell, the Shaman was a metalworker and religious leader, in touch with the spirit world.

He was buried in his ceremonial cloak, decorated with pierced animal bones. These would have jangled as he walked and danced. He carried a magnificent dark coloured battle axe, made from greenstone brought from Cornwall.

In a pouch decorated with boar’s tusks, he carried a toolkit for tattooing. It included a fine bronze point to pierce the skin and flint cups to hold the coloured pigment. The Shaman was also buried with stones used for smoothing and burnishing gold, suggesting he was one of the very few who understood the magic of metalworking .

Placed next to him in the same grave was the body of a woman. She was carefully placed sitting upright, her head close to the surface of the barrow. She was buried with a necklace of polished shale beads and a fine shale arm ring. They were buried together on top of the ridge looking out over the river valley that led towards Stonehenge. Perhaps this was one of the routes that traders took, bringing rare objects and raw materials to the ceremonial centre at Stonehenge.

Video: Phil Harding talks about the Upton Lovell Shaman