Archaeologists have described an Iron Age find in Pocklington as ‘most impressive, with no British parallel’.
The discovery of a ‘warrior grave’ was made during excavation at a Persimmon Homes development, The Mile, in the town.
The find includes an upright chariot with two horses and the remains of a male, along with a well-preserved shield and a highly decorative brooch.
Simon Usher, managing director at Persimmon Homes Yorkshire, said: “Everyone has been absolutely thrilled by the finds. Keeping the news under wraps while the excavation was completed has been a real challenge, but so important to ensure the integrity of the site.”
Excavation at The Mile took seven months to complete and was delivered as part of the planning obligation for Persimmon’s 200 home development.
Paula Ware, from MAP Archaeological Practice undertook the work. She said: “Initially we were excavating a 3.2 hectre Saxon settlement when we come across the two Iron Age barrows.
“The round barrow, circa nine metres, exposed a young speared male. Early investigations has revealed a ‘young warrior’ aged between 17 to 25, with blunt force trauma indicative of conflict. This type of burial, is believed to have been a sign of respect from the community for the person buried.”
The large square barrow provided the final resting place for a highly regarded member of the community. The skeleton’s status was evident by the extensive and ornate findings found with the remains as well as being surrounded by pig bones, believed to act as an ‘offering’.
Paula added: “The upright horses were positioned in motion as though leaping upwards out of the grave.
“The skeleton of the ‘warrior’ man was placed in a crouched position in the cart of the chariot with a remarkably well-preserved bronze shield decorated in La Tene style and a beautifully highly decorated brooch. Evidence reveals the man was post 46-years old, which is above the average life expectancy of males during this era.
“We feel privileged to be part of such a significant find. This provides a valuable insight into the ritual of Iron Age burials.”
Simon added: “Further investigations are underway, and we were delighted that the BBC’s Digging For Britain programme choose to feature this find in their latest series.”
Persimmon Homes Yorkshire, who officially own the find, are planning to donate the discovery to a museum. The exact beneficiary is to be confirmed but the housebuilder would like the find to remain in the local area.
As excavation is now complete construction is underway at The Mile development with properties available to buy-off-plan. The first customers are expected to receive their keys early in the new year.
The excavation a young speared Iron Age male aged 17 to 25 from the Persimmon Homes development in Pocklington.