Dartmoor tomb treasure hoard uncovered by archaeologists

Image caption,
The chamber, known as a cist, was found on Whitehorse Hill, near Chagford

Archaeologists from around the UK have been examining a hoard of treasures unearthed in a 4,000-year-old tomb on Dartmoor.

Prehistoric jewellery, animal pelts and beads made of amber were among the finds about two years ago in the burial chamber.

The chamber, known as a cist, was found on Whitehorse Hill, near Chagford.

Dartmoor National Park archaeologists have called it the most important ancient find on the moor.

When they levered off the chamber's lid they discovered an intact burial of cremated remains.

Image caption,
The coiled bag has been specially cleaned

It was wrapped in an animal pelt, containing a delicate bracelet studded with tin beads, a textile fragment with detailed leather fringing and a unique coiled bag.

Jane Marchand, Dartmoor National Park's chief archaeologist, said: "Visibly it's not as impressive as Stonehenge, but archaeologically it's just as important.

"It was incredibly exciting to lift the lid and a bead fell out."

At the Wiltshire Conservation Lab, the team had the delicate task of trying to reveal the secrets of the coiled bag containing rare beads.

Just eight beads have been found on Dartmoor in the last 100 years.

Image caption,
The team is awaiting DNA results to identify what animal the pelt came from

Helen Williams, a conservator at the lab, said: "The level of preservation we have got is amazing.

"We're awaiting DNA results on the pelt so we can identify what animal it might have come from.

"Amazing doesn't really do them justice. It's the most extraordinary assortment of finds with tin beads and wooden ear studs."

Archaeologists say the discovery also points to the earliest evidence of tin found in the South West.

Mystery of the Moor, a BBC Inside Out South West programme, is on BBC One on Friday at 19.30 GMT.

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