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Celtic Armor Found In English Grave

September 28, 1987

KIRKBURN, England (AP) _ A suit of chain mail armor about 2,200 years old has been found in a northern England grave, British Museum archaeologists reported on Monday.

″The armor is as early as anything (any armor) found in Europe and the oldest known in Britain,″ said Ian Stead, who is directing the excavation near Kirkburn in Yorkshire.

He said the 4-foot suit of thousands of interlocking iron rings was laid over the body of a warrior who probably belonged to the Celtic aristocracy in the Iron Age that predated the Roman occupation.

″The chain mail is very intricate, and both it and the human remains are well preserved,″ Stead said

The warrior, whose sex is undetermined, was aged about 30 and was buried in a chariot around 200 B.C., Stead said.

Some historians argue that the Romans learned how to make chain mail from the Celts, a group of Western European peoples who were eventually crushed between migratory Germans and the Roman legions.

Stead said the chariot’s wheels were removed and laid flat in the grave, and the body was then laid over and between them. The wood in the chariot had rotted away, but the bronze and iron linchpins of the axle were well preserved and elaborately decorated, the archaeologist said.

Stead said the warrior belonged to the Parisi, a tribe whose funerary rituals he has studied for more than 20 years.

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