Archaeologists call this type of Early Bronze Age pottery a beaker. While many beakers were used for food and drink they are also often found with burials. This was the case with the Cranbrook beaker. An extraordinary archer’s bracer was also found with the burial. The bracer was made from stone quarried high up in the Cumbrian mountains.
The Cranbrook beaker is only the fourth to be found complete with a burial in Devon, the other three finds were made in the 19th century. It is decorated all over with a comb-stamped pattern and is the first beaker of this form to be found in Devon. It is also the first Beaker in Devon or Cornwall to be found in association with a bracer.
The burial place seems to have had enormous significance to the ancient community at Cranbrook. For thousands of years that spot had been venerated as a special place. The origins of this veneration seem to date back to a large tree growing on the site around 10,000 years ago. The tree survived for thousands of years and the archaeologist found deposits of flint tools at it’s base. In the Bronze Age the tree was succeeded by, or possibly replaced by, a dug shaft with the beaker burial at the bottom. A ring ditch was also dug around the burial site.
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