Washington, August 9 : Archaeologists have unearthed the grave of an ancient British warrior with Roman links in southern England.
Experts associated with the excavation have revealed that buried along with the 2,000-year-old skeleton were military trappings, including a bronze helmet and an ornate shield both of a style previously unknown in Britain.
They believe that the Iron Age man, who died in his 30s, might have been a tribal king or nobleman.
The skeleton was discovered in June at the site of a new housing development in North Bersted on England's southeastern coast.
"What we've found is of national and international importance," National Geographic quoted dig team member Mark Taylor, senior archaeologist at West Sussex County Council, as saying.
The dig team has revealed that pottery, including three large jars placed at the foot of the grave, date the site to between A.D. 40 and A.D. 60.
The experts say that a bronze shield boss was found along with semicircular latticework plates, which thought to have decorated the shield.
The ornate artwork is unique "certainly in the U.K. and Europe, as far as we know," said Taylor.
He said that the scroll patterning most closely resembled that of mainland Europe's La Tene culture, named after a late Iron Age site in Switzerland.
John Creighton, an archaeologist from the University of Reading, added that the domed helmet likely had a similar origin.
According to him, it appears to be a Celtic-style Mannheim helmet-the first one ever found in Britain.
Creighton highlighted the fact that the helmet originated in Gaul, the ancient Roman name for a region of western Europe, was also worn by Roman soldiers.
The researchers believe that the find may provide significant evidence of Roman influence in the region prior to the Roman conquest of England in A.D. 43.
"One of the tempting and really exciting prospects is that the find might fulfil the theory that the sons of nobility may have been sent to Rome or sent abroad to undertake military training or to complete their education," Taylor said.
"It was all part of the empire-building process of that time to secure loyal, high-status client kings in the countries that were to become part of the Roman Empire," he added.
He says that scientific analysis of the warrior may reveal more evidence of Roman links in about six months.