THE grave of a ‘real-life Asterix’ who came to Britain to help the locals fight Julius Caesar has been hailed as one of the most exceptional ever found here.
The Iron Age warrior, buried with his ornate headdress and elaborate weaponry, is believed to have fled Roman-occupied France in around 50BC.
His tomb, untouched for almost two millennia, was unearthed when work started on a housing development in North Bersted, West Sussex.
Archaeologist Dr Melanie Giles, at the University of Manchester, said: ‘It really is absolutely unique. We don’t have another burial that combines this quality of weaponry and Celtic art with a date that puts it around the time of Caesar’s attempted conquest of Britain.He is either someone from eastern England who fought with the Gauls or he might be a real-life Asterix coming to us, just as in Asterix in Britain, to lend us aid in terms of the knowledge he has about strategy, tactics… he knows Caesar is going to try to divide and rule.’
James Kenny, Chichester district council archaeologist, said the key find was the helmet with its ornate bronze openwork crest that would have ‘shone like gold’ and been decorated with horse-hair plumes. The warrior was also buried with his sword, ‘decomissioned’ and bent, shield and spear.
He added: ‘This is one of the most exceptional finds in this period and is of international significance.’ The relics will go on display in Chichester in January.