Antler Headdress

A much loved object in our collection, this is an antler frontlet and was found at Star Carr, an archaeological Stone Age site close to Scarborough. The site is very important and is world famous amongst archaeologists.

The frontlet is thought to have been worn as a headdress. The inside of the skull has been worked smooth, the antlers cut back and three large holes carved in the bone at the back. The holes could have been used to tie the frontlet in place.

There are different ideas about what it was used for. Some think it may have been a hunting disguise, or used by shamans during ritual practices or dance,

Star Carr changed our view of Mesolithic people. It is famous due to the range, quantity and quality of finds preserved in the peat around the lake. Organic materials which normally rot, like wood and plants, have all been discovered, as well as stone and animal remains. Over 30 headdresses have been found at Star Carr. One of these is in the collection at Scarborough Museums and Galleries; others are at the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology in Cambridge, and the Yorkshire Museum. They are very rare; it is the only archaeological site where antler frontlets have been found in Britain, and just a few have been found in Europe.