Archaeologists at the University of Leicester have unearthed remains of an Iron Age chariot at Burrough Hill in Leicestershire. Scientists said the bronze fitting date back to second or third century BC. The chariot components were dismantled, carefully packed in a wooden box, which was then covered with wheat chaff and burnt as part of a ritual about 2,200 years ago.
The components were sacrificed to the Gods as part of a ritual
Experts believe the chariot belonged to a high-status person such as a warrior or a noble. The components included two small bronze rings, two bronze-capped iron linchpins, three large bronze rings, and nine other bronze buckles, fasteners and toggles. Scientists also found tools designed for cleaning the pony or for skinning the animals.
The European Iron Age began about 800 BC and ran until the Roman conquest in 43 AD in Britain. Most people were farmers, living on farms or small villages. However, skilled craftsmen during the period used advanced techniques to build highly decorated metal objects such as the chariot found at Burrough Hill. The discovery was made by Nora Battermann, a student at the University of Leicester, during a five-year project.
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Finding of Iron Age chariot ‘once in a lifetime discovery’
Nora and her team first discovered a piece of bronze in a pit near the remains of a house. Later, they uncovered many more parts nearby. After cleaning, the components of the Iron Age chariot showed some highly decorated patterns. Dr Jeremy Taylor, lecturer of landscape archaeology at the university, described it as a “once-in-a-lifetime discovery.” Taylor said he had been digging for the most part of the last 30 years, but never found anything like that.
Finding a chariot is extremely rare. There was a practice of the chariot burial in eastern Yorkshire. But it was rare in other areas. The components will be put on a temporary display at Melton’s Carnegie Museum between Oct.18 and Dec.13. Further analysis of those parts will be conducted before the temporary display.