Iron age chariot buried with horses discovered

Works at construction site in Pocklington, East Yorkshire, United Kingdom, unearthed two horse skeletons and the remains of a chariot dating back to the Iron Age.

Excavation of the skeletons (by David Wilson Homes)

The chariot burial is believed to be the first example with accompanying horses to be scientifically excavated within United Kingdom. It was found on the site of The David Wilson Homes’ Pavilion Square development. Previously, archaeologists working at the site have discovered swords, shields, spears, brooches and pots in a number of square barrows, dating back as far as 500 BC. It is believed that the site, with more than 75 burial graves excavated so far, offers one of the largest and most significant Iron Age findings of recent times into the “Arras Culture”.

Horse skeletons (by David Wilson Homes)

According to the archaeologists the chariot was located in the final Square Barrow to be excavated and on the periphery of the cemetery. The chariot at the site is only the twenty-sixth one to be excavated in the country and the inclusion of horses raises the significance of the burial. The chariot was the rare possession of a high status individual, but the deliberate inclusion of the horses as part of the burial rite is highly unusual. A circular wheel associated in close proximity to the horse skeleton suggests that the animals played a crucial role in the burial ceremony.

One of numerous burials (by David Wilson Homes)

The Arras culture, which is considered uncommon outside East Yorkshire, is defined by its burial practices, which include burials in round and square enclosures, and chariots on the “richer graves”.

Wheel of the chariot and horse skeletons (by Henry Hayhurst-France & David Wilson Homes)

(after BBC News, David Wilson Homes, Henry Hayhurst-France & Pocklington Post)

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