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8th century BC Iron Age ‘Princess’ tomb discovered in France

The remains of a 2,200-year-old woman dripping with blue glass beads and wearing a copper belt buckle have been discovered by French archaeologists.

The body, believed to be of a princess, was found lying on its back with its arms resting by its sides a few feet below the surface outside Saint-Vulbas, about 20 miles from Lyon.

She was one of three burials made on the site during the First Iron Age, and had been placed into a nine-foot by three-foot and six inches oak coffin.

The woman is thought to have been buried in a coffin made from oak wood

The body was found with bracelets that had blue glass and once reddish brown copper beads on both wrists outside Lyon, southeastern France. One of the bracelets is shown above

The body was found with bracelets that had blue glass and once reddish brown copper beads on both wrists outside Lyon, southeastern France. One of the bracelets is shown above

The belt buckle is shown above as it was found in the grave. It is surrounded by beads

The belt buckle is shown above as it was found in the grave. It is surrounded by beads

Bracelets adorned with blue glass and once reddish-brown copper beads had been neatly placed on each wrist, archaeologists from the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) said.

And the presence of a two-inch wide buckle suggested she had been wearing a belt, probably made from leather. It had a clip, made of a copper alloy, which was used to keep it closed.

Fragments of the pelvis, both femurs, parts of the skull, and the sacrum were among the bones found with the treasures. 

In a separate burial at the site from the same period, it appeared the individual had been cremated.

Two graves were added in the fifth century BC, and covered by a four-post funerary monument surrounded by a shallow moat.

A copper belt buckle with a clip to keep it fastened was also found inside the grave

A copper belt buckle with a clip to keep it fastened was also found inside the grave

Pictured are some of the glass beads that were buried with the woman 2,200 years ago

Pictured are some of the glass beads that were buried with the woman 2,200 years ago

A stack of small, pearl-like, disks from the grave are pictured above. The woman's grave was one of five found at the site

A stack of small, pearl-like, disks from the grave are pictured above. The woman’s grave was one of five found at the site

In one a box lined with limestone, washed bone and bracelet fragments had been placed.

What was life like in France during the 8th century BC? 

The Halstatt culture dominated France around the time the bodies were buried, which is known for its emphasis on agriculture and fine artifacts.

Towards 800BC people had begun to live in forts, heavily defended by walls and moats, due to growing conflicts.

Tribes had also begun to exchange copper and tin, for making bronze, and iron around this time with each other and the Mediterranean.

Source: History 

The archaeologists suggest that an empty space next to this could have been used for offerings of perishables, such as food.

In the other, bones mixed with charcoal from the funeral pyre have been buried.

The ancient graveyard was discovered as workers began stripping away the soil to build Plaine de L’Ain Industrial Park. 

The grave occupants lived while the Halstatt culture, known for its fine artifacts and emphasis on farming and metal working, was dominant in southeastern France and most of Europe. 

By 800 BC, long range trade routes had been established for the exchange of copper, tin and iron, linking the region to the Mediterranean.

This is also around the time when hill forts began to appear, defended with walls and ditches in order to ward off rival clans.

Hundreds of bodies mummified in bogs have been uncovered from around this period, many having suffered brutal deaths.

Pictured above is the outline of the four-post covering from the 5th century BC that was discovered at the site

Pictured above is the outline of the four-post covering from the 5th century BC that was discovered at the site

A separate burial had a limestone coffin interred underneath a covering in one side

A separate burial had a limestone coffin interred underneath a covering in one side 

This is an artists impression of what the burial site in France would have looked like

This is an artists impression of what the burial site in France would have looked like 

The Tollund man from the 4th century BC was so well preserved when he was found in Denmark that he was assumed to be a recent murder victim.

He was killed by hanging, the rope leaving deep marks in his neck, before being placed into the bog.

The Lindow man, found in Manchester, England, appeared to have had his throat slit and to have been whipped with rope made from animal parts before he was hurled into a bog. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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