AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL dig in Pembrokeshire has confirmed the first Celtic chariot burial found in southern and western Britain, with help from local college students.

Iron age treasures discovered by metal detectorist Mike Smith in a Pembrokeshire field in February 2018 were evidence of a Celtic chariot burial, the first of its kind in the UK outside of the north east of England.

An archaeological dig took place in March and April this year in the field where Mike found the ornamental pieces of bronze, with new discoveries from the site including the iron tyres of the chariot’s wheels and an iron sword.

Western Telegraph:

The dig has confirmed the theory that an Iron Age Celtic chariot burial was lying under the field.

Adam Gwilt, Principal Curator of Prehistoric Archaeology, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales said: “This is a significant discovery. It is the first chariot burial to be found not just in Wales but in Southern Britain.

“Chariots, as war and ceremonial vehicles, were used to display the power and identity of their owners and tribal communities in Late Iron Age Britain, as the fine decoration on these artefacts show.

“While we still know little about their owner, these chariot pieces probably belonged to a man or woman of some standing within their tribe or community.”

The dig was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Cadw and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, and students from Pembrokeshire College took part as volunteers.

Mike Smith’s initial discoveries included brooches and rings which would have fastened a horse’s harness, and which would have once been fixings for a chariot and a pair of ponies.

Western Telegraph:

The national museum and Dyfed Archaeological Trust undertook an investigation of the site in June 2018, when they discovered the tops of the iron chariot tyres.

This year, a team of experts on site worked closely with students from Pembrokeshire College, giving them an opportunity to witness the discoveries themselves.

A display about the discovery, led by the students from Pembrokeshire College will be on display in the College in November this year.

Amgueddfa Cymru hopes to acquire the items for the national collection and display them at St Fagan’s National Museum of History in the future.