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Is skeleton adorned with gold jewelry the first Queen of Windsor?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Archaeologists have made an amazing discovery working in a quarry near the royal family's Berkshire residence. A middle-aged woman adorned with some of Britain's oldest gold ornaments has many speculating that she may be the first Queen of Windsor. 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The discovery of the 4,400-year-old burial site has led many to think that Windsor's royal connection goes back very much further than suspected.

The find is doubly significant since grave sites from the era containing such fine jewelry are usually associated with men.

"It is interesting to think who this woman was within her community,' said site director Gareth Chaffey of Wessex Archaeology, who has worked on the site for the past seven years.

"She was probably an important person in her society, perhaps holding some standing which gave her access to prestigious, rare and exotic items. She could have been a leader, a person with power and authority, or possibly part of an elite family - perhaps a princess or queen."
 
Windsor Castle as it is known today was begun by William the Conqueror in the decade following the 1066 Norman Conquest, which overthrew the Saxon kings who had previously ruled England.

Establishing the site as part of a ring of forts around London, William intended to cement his new position of power and guard against potential usurpers. However, the recently unearthed woman was interred much, much earlier.

They estimate that she was buried between 2,200 and 2,500 B.C., just a century or two after the construction of Stonehenge, located just 60 miles to the south-west.

The skeleton was found with a large pottery drinking vessel, which archaeologists term a "beaker," dating her to communities which lived across Europe at around 2,500 B.C. At the time of her burial, she wore a necklace containing small tubular sheet gold beads and black disc beads of lignite.

In addition, a number of larger perforated amber buttons were also found in a row along her body, indicating that she may have been wearing clothing, perhaps of woven wool, at the time of her burial.

"Beaker graves of this date are almost unknown in South East England and only a small number of them, and indeed continental Europe, contain gold ornaments," Dr. Stuart Needham, an expert in Copper Age metalwork says.

"The tubular beads that were found at Kingsmead Quarry are certainly rare in Britain, and this gives the grave tremendous research importance."

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