London, July 28 : Archaeologists have discovered the unique grave of a 2,000-year-old Iron Age warrior in the trenches of a new housing development in North Bersted in the UK.
According to a report in Portsmouth Today, the discovery is thought to indicate a burial site unique in the UK - and so important that the find was kept under wraps until the delicate process of moving the remains to a laboratory had been completed.
Archaeologists believe that the remains, from between 40 AD and 60 AD, are of a wealthy man in his 30s who was either a highly decorated soldier or a member of an extremely important family, maybe even a prince.
He was buried with a rich array of Roman goods including a Montefortino helmet - only ever previously found on the continent - a shield and highly decorated lattice sheets.
The helmet and shield suggest he may have been sent to Britain by his family to be educated or fight.
The lattice work, which may have covered the shield, is of particular significance and Mark Taylor, senior archaeologist at West Sussex County Council, said nothing to rival it has been discovered in Europe before.
"This is a spectacular find in terms of burial," said Taylor. "At the moment, we don't think there are any obvious parallels for this material," he added.
Pottery jars were also found in what appears to have been an iron burial casket. They were probably filled with offerings to the gods or food for the afterlife.
The skeleton has been sent to Thames Valley Archaeological Services, which unearthed the grave, and the helmet, shield and lattice work have been sent to a laboratory in Salisbury for detailed analysis.
"There will now be meticulous analysis of what has been found which we hope can help us discover more," said Taylor.