Sussex

Iron Age warrior's remains to go on show in Chichester

Iron Age grave near Chichester Image copyright Chichester District Council
Image caption The grave contained "significant" artefacts

The remains of an Iron Age warrior and his possessions - hailed as a "spectacular discovery" by archaeologists - are to go on display.

Weaponry and other artefacts were found alongside the ancient fighter during excavations at a site near Chichester, West Sussex.

It is thought the grave belonged to someone of high status.

The man, who may have fought alongside a Roman king, will be the centre-piece of an exhibition at a city museum.

A team from Thames Valley Archaeological Services found the grave on land at North Bersted, near Bognor Regis, in 2008.

The site is now a housing estate.

'Robust right arm'

Chichester District Council archaeologist James Kenny said the "unique" find is thought to date from about 50BC.

"In more than 30 years of archaeology this is the most spectacular discovery that I've witnessed," he said.

"What distinguishes the discovery from any other burial in Britain is the breathtaking quality and beauty of the artefacts and the range of his possessions."

He added: "His physique, the strength of his legs, comes from habitual exercise - most likely horse riding.

"And he had a particularly robust right arm which can only come from battle exercise."

Image copyright Fiona Mills
Image caption The bent sword was among weapons buried alongside the warrior

The haul included an elaborate helmet with ornate bronze lattice-work crest, and weapons including a sword which had been heated and bent to ensure it "died" alongside its owner - a tribute normally reserved for major figures.

Historians believe the man was either an Englishman who fought with the Gauls in their struggle against Julius Caesar's army, or was himself a Frenchman fleeing the Romans.

The finds, donated to the council by developer Berkeley Homes, will go on display at Chichester's Novium Museum from January.

Image copyright Allan Hutchings
Image caption The head-dress was elaborate
Image copyright Allan Hutchings
Image caption The haul included an elaborate helmet with ornate bronze lattice-work crest
Image copyright FIONA MILLS
Image caption The degree of craftsmanship impressed archaeologists
Image copyright Chichester District Council
Image caption Pots and other artefacts were found alongside the skeleton

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