Iron Age ‘warrior’ burial uncovered in West Sussex

Date:

Share post:

A richly-furnished grave belonging to an Iron Age ‘warrior’ buried 2,000 years ago has been uncovered in West Sussex by UCL archaeologists.

Iron Age ‘warrior’ burial uncovered in West Sussex
Iron Age warrior grave excavated in West Sussex 
[Credit: Archaeology South-East (ASE)]

Iron weapons had been placed inside the grave, including a sword in a highly-decorated scabbard and a spear.

The burial was discovered during an excavation commissioned by Linden Homes, who are developing a site on the outskirts of Walberton, near Chichester, to create 175 new homes.




The team that made the discovery were from Archaeology South-East (ASE), the commercial branch of UCL’s Institute of Archaeology.

ASE archaeologist Jim Stevenson, who is managing the post-excavation investigations into the burial, said: “There has been much discussion generally as to who the people buried in the ‘warrior’ tradition may have been in life. Were they really warriors, or just buried with the trappings of one?

Iron Age ‘warrior’ burial uncovered in West Sussex
Sword midway through conservation and its X-rays 
[Credit: Archaeology South-East (ASE)]

“Although the soil conditions destroyed the skeleton, the items discovered within the grave suggest that the occupant had been an important individual.”

The grave is dated to the late Iron Age/ early Roman period (1st century BC – AD 50). It is incredibly rare, as only a handful are known to exist in the South of England.




X-rays and initial conservation of the sword and scabbard reveal beautiful copper-alloy decoration at the scabbard mouth, which would have been highly visible when the sword was worn in life.

Dotted lines on the X-ray may be the remains of a studded garment worn by the occupant when buried. This is particularly exciting for the archaeologists as evidence of clothing rarely survives.

Iron Age ‘warrior’ burial uncovered in West Sussex
Ceramic jar found in grave [Credit: Archaeology South-East (ASE)]

The grave also held the remains of a wooden container, preserved as a dark stain, likely used to lower the individual into the grave.




Four ceramic vessels were placed outside of this container, but still within the grave. The vessels are jars made from local clays and would usually have been used for food preparation, cooking and storage. It is likely that they were placed in the grave as containers for funerary offerings, perhaps intended to provide sustenance for the deceased in the afterlife.

Archaeologists are continuing to investigate this new discovery. By looking at other burials with weapons from the same time, they hope to find out more about the identity and social status of this individual, and the local area and landscape around that time.

Source: University College London [January 30, 2020]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Delos Open Museum Restoration Project

The Ministry of Culture and Sports has presented a comprehensive plan for the protection and enhancement of the...

Experts in Brussels discuss factors impacting underwater cultural heritage

For centuries, land-based heritage sites have been victim to pillaging and commercial exploitation. UNESCO has fought to protect...

New evidence suggests the port of Lechaion in Corinth dates to the Late Bronze Age

The port of Lechaion, on the shores of the Corinthian Gulf, has been the largest harbour of ancient...

Hellenistic tomb found in eastern Turkey

A Hellenistic tomb has been unearthed at a construction site in the northern Turkish province of Samsun’s İlkadım...

Salvadoran archaeological site provides window into pre-Columbian life

Nuevo Lourdes, an archaeological site in central El Salvador, provides insights into daily life in pre-Columbian times in...

Researchers set to dig deep to trace Kerala-Oman link

History researchers from India will be visiting Oman in the coming weeks to learn more about the links...

22 ancient Greek amphorae found off Albanian coast

A joint Albanian-American underwater archaeology project says it has found amphorae that are at least 2,500 years old...

Archaeologists post research data from Sudan online

Graves, small huts or stone-lined sleeping places from antiquity and the Middle Ages: the "Wadi Abu Dom Itinerary"...