Brymbo Man : The Evidence
To understand Bronze Age Britain we have to rely on the study of monuments and finds that have survived into the present day.
In the case of Brymbo Man, what do we have to go on?
Pathologists can by examining a human skeleton tell us much about the person when alive: the person's age, sex and height, their diet, where they grew up and the cause of death.
The type of pottery, its shape, fabric and decoration are all clues. Archaeologists know beakers changed over time. They use these clues to work out the approximate date of manufacture.
The Flint Knife
As with pottery, it is possible to roughly date a flint knife by looking at its shape and its cutting edges. You look for similar flints the age of which are already known.
The Stone Cist
They were a common feature in the Early Bronze Age, especially in Beaker Burials.
Creating such a grave required a lot of work. What kind
of person would merit such a grave? Was he special or are there many similar
tombs out there undiscovered?
Brymbo Man - What do we know?
Age: about 35
By checking the wear on his teeth and the fusion of the bones in his skull.
Date of Birth: c1635BC
By identifying the beaker as a "Short Necked" type made about 1600BC
By measuring his tibia (a lower leg bone). Its length is in proportion to his height.
The shape of his skull and the muscle attachments to his skull and leg bones show that he was a powerfully built man.
Distinguishing Features: Wound above hairline on forehead
By closely examining the damage to the skull, we can tell that he survived the wound because we can see it healed. The teardrop shaped pit points to an arrow being the probable cause.
Post Mortem Events
By examining the bones closely, the bone specialist noticed cut marks made with a sharp instrument. Perhaps their burial practices involved de-fleshing the bones.
Religious Affiliation: Belief in the afterlife
The Beaker may have contained a drink for his journey in the afterlife. The flint knife was perhaps there for Brymbo Man to prepare a snack on the way.