Unearthed, the prince of Stonehenge
By Roger Highfield
(Filed: 21/08/2002)

A prehistoric prince with gold ear-rings has been found near Stonehenge a few yards away from the richest early Bronze Age burial in Britain.

Earlier this year, archaeologists found an aristocratic warrior, also with gold ear-rings, on Salisbury Plain and speculated that he may have been an ancient king of Stonehenge.

The body was laid to rest 4,300 years ago during the construction of the monument, along with stone arrow heads and slate wristguards that protected the arm from the recoil of the bow. Archaeologists named him the Amesbury Archer.

Now they have found another skeleton from the same period five yards away. The remains are those of a man, aged 25 to 30, buried in the same posture, on his left side with his face to the north, and legs bent.

His grave was bare, containing only the sharpened tusk of a boar, but contained the basket shaped ear-rings. The man may have been the archer's son, the prince of Stonehenge, said Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick, who led the dig by Wessex Archaeology.

DNA testing on their teeth will be carried out to find out if the two bodies are part of the same royal family.

Around 100 artefacts were found in the archer's grave -10 times as many as at graves from a similar period elsewhere in Britain.

The grave is dated to about 2300BC - around the time at which Stonehenge's inner circle of bluestones was being hauled from the Preseli mountains in South Wales.

The king, who was 5ft 9ins tall, lacked a left kneecap, suggesting he had suffered a serious injury. He was aged 35 to 50 when he died, when he was placed in a timber chamber about three miles from Stonehenge.

A valuation committee must now put a figure on the finds after David Masters, the Wiltshire coroner, declared the discoveries treasure.

The British Museum and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum have both expressed an interest in providing the archer's final resting place.

John and Sylvia Savidge, who own Red House Farm where the burial chambers were unearthed, may receive a cash reward once the treasure has been valued.