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Almost All That Remains of This Woman, Perhaps the First Queen of Windsor, Is Her Jewelry

Though her clothes long since decomposed and her bones are almost completely decayed, her lavish jewelry remains behind, giving hints to her identity

smithsonian.com

A computer-generated image of how the woman would have appeared when she was first laid to rest. Photo: Wessex Archaeology

For one  ancient woman, a diamond—or, at least, her jewelry—is indeed forever. At a quarry between Heathrow airport and Windsor Castle, just outside London, archaeologists just uncovered the remains of a 4,400-year old corpse that may turn out to be the first queen of Windsor. Though her clothes long since decomposed and her bones are almost completely decayed, her lavish jewelry remains behind, giving hints to her identity and possible royal status. LiveScience reports:

The woman’s bones have been degraded by acid in the soil, making radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis impossible. Nonetheless, excavators believe she was at least 35 years old when she died sometime between 2500-2200 B.C., around the era Stonehenge was constructed.

When this woman was buried, she wore a necklace of tube-shaped gold beads and black disks made from a coal-like material called lignite. Scattered around her remains, archaeologists also found amber buttons and fasteners, hinting that she was buried in an adorned gown that has long since disintegrated. Black beads near her hand were probably once part of a bracelet. A large drinking vessel, a rare find in graves from this time period and area, was also buried near her remains

From initial isotope analyses, the researchers found that the gold probably originated in southeast Ireland and southern Britain, the black beads from eastern Europe, and the amber perhaps from the Baltic region, Discover writes. As far as who she was:

According to the archaeologists in charge of the excavation, Gareth Chaffey of Wessex Archaeology, the woman was probably “an important person in her society, perhaps holding some standing which gave her access to prestigious, rare and exotic items.”

This means, Chaffey continued, that she could have been a leader, a person of power or perhaps even a queen.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Extraordinary Discoveries 
Dispatch from Stonehenge 

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