The Boscombe Bowmen is the name given by archaeologists to a group of early Bronze Age individuals found in a shared burial at Boscombe Down in Amesbury (grid reference ) near Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.
The Bowmen were found in 2003 during roadworks being carried out on behalf of the military contractor that operates the Boscombe Down airfield. The location is near a group of houses (known as Lower Camp) in Amesbury which are associated with the air base (which lies to the east).
The grave contained a total of seven burials: three children, a teenager and three men. Analysis of the skulls suggests that the men and the teenager were related to each other. The eldest man was buried in a crouched position with the bones of the others scattered around him and their skulls resting at his feet. They became known as the Bowmen because several flint arrowheads were placed in the grave. Other grave goods included a boar's tusk, a bone toggle, flint tools, and eight Beaker vessels, an unusually high number.
The burials are thought to date from around 2300 BCE, making them broadly contemporary with the Amesbury Archer who was found nearby to the south.
Lead isotope analysis of the men's teeth has indicated that they grew up in the areas either of modern Wales or in the Lake District, but left in childhood. This was thought to be contemporary with the major building work of erecting the Sarsen Circle and the trilithons at Stonehenge but new research indicates that these burials occurred shortly after Stonehenge Phase 3ii.
In popular culture
- Fitzpatrick, A. P. The Amesbury Archer and the Boscombe Bowmen: Early Bell Beaker burials at Boscombe Down, Amesbury, Wiltshire. Wessex Archaeology. p. 6. ISBN 1874350620.
- Fitzpatrick, A. P. The Amesbury Archer and the Boscombe Bowmen: Early Bell Beaker burials at Boscombe Down, Amesbury, Wiltshire. Wessex Archaeology. p. 4. ISBN 1874350620.
- Pearson, Mike; Ros Cleal; Peter Marshall; Stuart Needham; Josh Pollard; Colin Richards; Clive Ruggles; Alison Sheridan; Julian Thomas; Chris Tilley; Kate Welham; Andrew Chamberlain; Carolyn Chenery; Jane Evans; Chris Knüsel (September 2007). "The Age of Stonehenge". Antiquity. 811 (313): 617–639.
- Patton, M. A. 2012 Undreamed Shores, Edinburgh, Crooked Cat Publications. ISBN 1908910410; ISBN 978-1908910417.