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11 Dec, 2018 07:11

‘Leaping out of the grave’: Rare Iron Age chariot with horses is an ‘unparalleled’ find

‘Leaping out of the grave’: Rare Iron Age chariot with horses is an ‘unparalleled’ find

Archaeologists have uncovered a “spectacular” Iron Age chariot, two horses, and man buried as though they were ready to take off, in an area in Yorkshire where a different chariot was discovered last year.

The amazing discovery was found in an Iron Age grave in a building site in Pocklington by MAP Archaeological Practice. “This is a new burial rite which has never been seen before,” Paula Ware from MAP Archaeological Practice told the Yorkshire Post.

The two horses buried with the chariot look as though they are “leaping upwards out of the grave,” and archaeologists believe they may be have been buried standing up, with their heads potentially left above ground. They were positioned in the grave with their hooves off the ground and back legs bent.

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“It looked as though their skulls were removed centuries ago,” Ware explained.

“Possibly the heads were coming out of the graves. Did they go in alive, who knows? There’s no evidence of a ramp.”

Inside the chariot, a man in his late 40s was buried, and his remains were found in the fetal position. His head was surrounded by the bones of six piglets, likely an offering, and he was buried with a shield and brooch.

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Pig bones aren’t an unusual find in a grave like this, but the large amount suggests the man was extremely important. “Normally there would be a quarter of a [pig] jaw,” Ware said. “He was someone so significant.”

Another man’s body was found nearby, which had nine spears through its chest and evidence of blunt force trauma. The significance of this is unknown, but, while some have speculated it was a kind of vampire-like ritual to ensure the man is dead, it may also have been a way to release his spirit.

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