Archaeologists Have Made ‘Unparalleled’ Discovery Of A Spectacular Iron Age Chariot Buried In East Yorkshire

The horses bound to the Iron Age chariot in East Yorkshire were buried in a position which made them appear as if they 'were leaping upwards out of the grave.'

Wooden Chariot Wheel covered in Lichens and Moss.
Gus Garcia / Shutterstock

The horses bound to the Iron Age chariot in East Yorkshire were buried in a position which made them appear as if they 'were leaping upwards out of the grave.'

Archaeologists in East Yorkshire have recently made what they have called an “unparalleled” discovery after they unearthed an Iron Age chariot with horses still attached and buried in a position which made them appear almost as if they “were leaping upwards out of the grave.”

According to the Yorkshire Post, the Iron Age chariot was unearthed in Pocklington at the Persimmon Homes building site. The horses were carefully positioned with their hooves and back legs bent so that they looked ready to leap up and dash away with the chariot in tow as they journeyed to the afterlife that awaited them.

Besides the horses, a man who was around 40-years-old at the time of his death was found inside the chariot where he had been buried curled up in the fetal position. Yet he too, like the horses, was also buried sitting fully upright as if he was prepared to guide the horses “into any future life.”

Archaeologists believe that the horses with the Iron Age chariot may very possibly have been buried so that those walking by would be able to see their heads sticking out of the grave, but with the passing of thousands of years these horses now no longer have heads.

While East Yorkshire has certainly had its share of chariot burials, none can surpass the most recent Iron Age chariot that has been discovered. As Paula Ware from MAP Archaeological Practice has succinctly stated, this particular burial “has no British equal.”

“We couldn’t tell how they were placed in the grave. Both were still upright and they were placed as though in motion as if they were leaping out of the grave. It looked as though their skulls were removed centuries ago. Possibly the heads were coming out of the graves. Did they go in alive who knows? There’s no evidence of a ramp.”

Ware also noted that the grave itself was quite stunning and that a huge amount of work must have gone into constructing it. It has also been surmised that the man buried along with the chariot and horses must have been someone quite important as at least six baby piglets had also been interred with him.

“This is a new burial rite which has never been seen before. How spectacular this is – and what time and effort must have gone into it and the people who must have taken part in this burial process, digging this 4.7m by 3.9m grave. There is more pig bone in this burial than there has been seen in burials across the Wolds. He is honored with at least six piglets – normally there would be a quarter of a jaw. He was someone so significant.”

With the amazing discovery of the Iron Age chariot burial in East Yorkshire, the remains that were found will be heading to a museum and the details of the chariot will be discussed on Digging for Britain which will be broadcast on December 19 on BBC Four.