Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Posh grave of Iron Age 'warrior' buried 2,000 years ago in Roman Britain uncovered

A FANCY grave belonging to an Iron Age "warrior" buried 2,000 years ago has been uncovered in the UK.

The battle-hardened individual's burial dates back to the time when the Roman Empire ruled Britain.

Inside the grave were iron weapons, including a spear and a sword with a decorated scabbard.

The burial was found during an excavation on a site in Walberton near Chichester, where 175 new homes are to be built.

Archaeologists were astonished by the discovery, as late Iron Age / early Roman graves are extremely rare in the south of England.

X-ray scans of the sword and scabbard revealed a "beautiful copper-alloy decoration".

Experts say this would've been very visible when the sword was worn in life.

"There has been much discussion generally as to who the people buried in the 'warrior' tradition may have been in life," said Jim Stevenson, of Archaeology South East.

"Were they really warriors, or just buried with the trappings of one?

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

Dotted lines that appeared on the X-ray are also suspected to be the remains of a studded garment worn by the buried individual.

It's another exciting discovery because evidence of clothing rarely survives after such a long time.

The Romans in Britain

Here's everything you need to know…

  • The Roman Empire conquered vast swathes of Europe, West Asia and North Africa.
  • A Roman force of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east in 43 AD.
  • Key tribal leaders surrendered, and within three years Britain was declared part of the Roman Empire.
  • Londinium (London) was founded in 47 AD and became the country's capital. Networks of roads were built across the country.
  • Over time, the Britons began to adopt Roman customs, such as towns, animals, a new religion and ways of reading and counting. The Romans even gave us the word "Britain".
  • The Romans largely remained in the south of Britain, famously never managing to take Scotland from the country's violent Barbarian forces.
  • By 410 AD, the Empire was falling apart, and Roman rule ended in Britain when soldiers were recalled to Rome to protect other parts of it.

The grave also contained remains of a wooden container, which was preserved as a dark stain.

Experts think that was likely used to lower the body into the grave.

Four ceramic pots were placed outside of the container but still within the grave.

The jars were made from local clays and would typically have been used for preparing, cooking and storing food.

But they were likely placed in the grave as containers for "funerary offerings" – possibly as supplies for the dead individual in the afterlife.

Archaeologists took such detailed recordings of the grave that they were able to create an exact 3D model, which can be seen here.

They now hope to examine local warrior burials to find out more about the identity and social status of the deceased.

In other news, the graves of 50 slaves who were forced to build an elite Roman villa in the UK were recently unearthed.

Bronze Age poo from "Britain's Pompeii" reveals how locals were riddled with parasites.

Ancient Chinese people gave their babies coneheads by ‘moulding their skulls’ to show off how rich they were.

And, from headless vikings to ‘screaming’ mummies, here are some of the most gruesome ancient corpses ever found.

What do you make of this discovery? Would you like to have lived in Roman Britain? Let us know in the comments!

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