Red deer antler headdress, c. 8000 BC
Deer antler
150 (height) x 180 (length) mm
Found at Star Carr, Yorkshire, England


This headdress is from Star Carr, a famous archaeological site. It’s known for remarkable finds preserved in waterlogged ground on what was the shore of former Lake Flixton, in Yorkshire, England. People living by hunting and collecting food camped here just after the end of the last Ice Age when the climate was naturally warming. Their stone tools, as well as spear tips and other weapons made from elk and red deer antler, were found around decking made from logs of wood.
This headdress is made from the top of the skull of a large red deer stag. To reduce the weight and make it easier to wear, the antlers were cut down and the inside of the skull was scraped to thin the bone before two holes were made in the back allowing it to be tied onto the head. All this was done using stone tools made from local flint and well suited for making a variety of antler tools and weapons, including long barbed spear tips.
The twenty-one antler head dresses found at Star Carr are probably parts of costumes worn for religious ceremonies; we know this from a particular burial in Germany. The suggestion that they are a disguise for hunters is improbable in a wooded environment where they would be an unnecessary encumbrance.


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