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Rare burial chariot found

LONDON -- After 2,500 years, the chariot's wheels remain intact, complete with their iron tires. Inside lie the remains of a man in his 30s, believed to be a tribal chief.

 

Workers constructing a highway through northern England have unearthed a "rare and nationally significant" Iron Age burial chamber containing a two-wheeled chariot and its owner, archeologists said yesterday.

Oxford Archaeology, an independent archeological practice investigating the find, said it was the first chariot burial to be found so far inland. The similarity to contemporary French burials "indicates some form of contact and exchange between the continent [of Europe] and Britain during the middle Iron Age," about which little is known.

"Insights gained will make a significant addition to our understanding of the burial rites of the period, and help us to understand a wide range of other elements of cultural exchange," the group said on its website. The remains were discovered by workers constructing the new A1 motorway at Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire, northern England.

Archeologists are now excavating the chariot's wheels, complete with iron tires, which are in good condition. The wooden axle has completely decayed, but its position has been identified as a long narrow stain in the soil. Inside the chariot, a man lies on his back, his legs flexed. He is surrounded by bronze and iron objects, some of which are likely to be horse harnesses.

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