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Brymbo Man

The Changing Views

1958

Brymbo Man's remains were in poor condition and scarce. This is not surprising for a burial so close to the surface. It is likely some of the bones were removed.

Now

Archaeologists have found cists elsewhere close to the surface. These cists were not disturbed. Why make this assumption for Brymbo Man's grave?

1958

Brymbo Man was buried in a crouched position. He was tightly bound and then lowered into the grave. He was buried only once.

Now

This cannot explain his missing bones. Only 13% of his skeleton remains. There is evidence on the bones that some bones were de-fleshed before burial. Perhaps he was left on the surface to decay. Only later were some of the bones buried. This was probably a "secondary burial." What does that tell us about Brymbo Man's importance.

1958

Brymbo Man has a broad skull, rugged features and marked brow ridges. These features are typical of the invading Beaker Folk. They were an advanced people who came from Europe. We know they are different from their new burial customs and their special beakers.

Now

Archaeologists now think that it was ideas that travelled not invading armies. People heard about making beakers and decided to make their own. People did move around for instance to trade and fighting did occur. We do not have enough evidence to say the Beaker Folk were a separate invading force. Moreover, we have not found enough skulls from the Early Bronze Age to divide people up into groups.

Future

Brymbo Man shows just how difficult it is to make definite statements about prehistory. There will always be question marks hanging over sites like Brymbo Man's burial cist. The debate will go on...