Bronze Age find examined

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A Bronze Age necklace found at a burial site in Great Cornard has been used to shed fresh light on the past.

The necklace was found in a large grave of a woman overlooking the Stour Valley during an archeological dig ahead of building work for a housing development in 2009.

In the grave, archaeologists found a beaker and the unusual necklace, which had large amber pieces and 400 black jet and white shell beads.

This has since been carbon dated to between 2281 and 2135BC, the very beginning of the early Bronze Age.

By testing amino acids inside the shells featured in the necklace, archaeologists at the University of York have been able to determine what was used to make the jewellery.

When it was first realised that the jewellery was made from shell, experts questioned where this could have come from, with shells from the Mediterranean even thought a possibility.

Research – led by Dr Beatrice Demarchi and Dr Julie Wilson – involving archaeologists, mathematicians, chemists and physicists, has since shown this not to be the case.

It is now believed that dog whelk and tusk shells, available locally, were used.