chief sees light of day
rare grave dug for a warrior 1500 years ago has been unearthed on an
American air base in Suffolk.
As some of
the world's most sophisticated fighter jets screamed overhead
archaeologists working at RAF Lakenheath discovered the last resting
place of a soldier from a different age.
Anglo Saxon warrior chief was just as important in his day as the
multi-million pound planes. In fact, this man was so significant he
was buried with his horse.
Major find: Project leader Jo Caruth described the discovery of
the skeletons at Lakenheath as a unique find. She is pictured left
with archaeologist Jonathan Van Jennians. Pictures: Andy Abbott.
The animal was slaughtered after the death of the warrior and buried
alongside him. The warrior's sword, shield and spear were also
buried with him.
also discovered an iron bucket whis is thought to have contained
food for the trusty steed.
say the find is one of the greatest archaeological discoveries made
in the UK this year and parallels are already being drawn with a
similar grave found at Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge.
John Newman, a field officer with the Suffolk County Council's
archaeology section, said the find was of national importance
because it was so rare to find the horse and warrior buried in the
Newman said the style of the warrior's grave, in a mound surrounded
by a ditch, and the presence of the horse meant he was a major
wealthy figure in the Anglo Saxon community of 550 AD, living on
what is now RAF Lakenheath.
said: "He was a warrior chief important enough to go into the
afterlife with his weapons and his horse. The horse was probably
poleaxed after his death."
He said the skeleton of both the horse and warrior were well
preserved thanks to bands of chalk in the land which has neutralized
harmful acids from the surrounding sandy soil.
Anglela Evans, who uncovered the Sutton Hoo find, said the
Lakenheath discovery, already viewed by British Museum officials,
was "very special".
Project Leader Jo Caruth.
Photo by Andy Abbott.
said that to find a Saxon warrior and his horse buried in the same
grave is extremely rare in Britain, and sheds new light on Anglo
said: "People have always thought that the Saxons were actually
pretty inept horse people. I would like to think that it actually
tells us that the Saxons were better horsemen than we imagined."
council archaeologists, led by Jo Caruth, began work on the site in
July ahead of construction work due to start next month. More than
140 Saxon graves from the same period have already been found, and
archaeologists expect to uncover almost 200.
is hoped the warrior and horse will be put on public display in the
Article taken from Mercury News October 10,
1997. All material is copyrighted by them and used herein without