Edinburgh, August 12 (ANI): Archaeologists in Perthshire, Scotland, have unearthed a spectacular early Bronze Age grave containing a gold-banded dagger still wrapped in its 4,000-year-old sheath, which means it is as old as the pyramids.
According to a report in The Scotsman, while few traces survive of the body buried in the primitive stone coffin, found near the village of Forteviot, several clues suggest the remains are those of a tribal leader or warrior of "tremendous importance".
More surprising were the organic materials preserved in the sealed grave. They include a wooden bowl, what may be a leather bag, plant fragments and tree bark.
There were gasps of astonishment from watching archeologists when the grave, which dates back to the time of the construction of the Egyptian pyramids, was revealed intact.
"The high quality of preservation is of exceptional importance for understanding the centuries when metals were first introduced into Scotland," said Dr Kenneth Brophy, of the University of Glasgow.
Only two or three daggers from this period have been found in Scotland, but this find is even more unusual.
"It is also incredibly rare to find some kind of animal skin wrapped around the dagger. The metal is in good condition. It's a spectacular and unusual find," Dr Brophy said.
The materials have been brought to Edinburgh for conservation and examination, and are currently being kept in cold storage at the laboratory of the AOC Archaeology Group.
Rated of national importance, the finds are likely to become part of the National Museum of Scotland's collection.
Markings on the underside of the capstone may be pecked carvings of an axe. Two more axes may also have been pecked into the stone next to where the head would have lain.
According to Dr Brophy, "They dug a huge hole, then placed a stone coffin in the ground, about a metre long and 70 centimetres across. The body would have lain crouched on its side. Then they placed a four-tonne stone on top of it. They would have used ropes and pulleys of some kind. It would have been very crude techniques."
"The scale of the effort and the unique carvings are all pointing to a person of huge importance," he added.
The grave had been laid in a bed of quartz pebbles in sand. The Bronze Age chamber was placed in a complex of Stone Age sites at Forteviot, dating perhaps as early as 3,000 BC. (ANI)