| 4 January 2004
Britain's oldest chariot unearthed near Edinburgh
Archaeologists working on the remains of a chariot found near Edinburgh, Scotland, have dated it to 400BCE, some 200 years older than the next oldest British chariot.
The chariot was unearthed on a building site almost three years ago at the Edinburgh Interchange business park, near the Newbridge roundabout. Described as one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in Scotland, it was found just 200 metres from the Huly Hill stone circle.
The first discovery of its kind in Scotland, only East Yorkshire and France have seen similar discoveries in Western Europe. John Lawson, Edinburgh City Council archaeologist, said "The style of burial - where the chariot is buried intact - is similar to burials in Northern France and Belgium. It is a unique find which proves the long-standing Celtic connections between Scotland and Europe."
The chariot is being conserved in a joint project between Edinburgh city council, the National Museums of Scotland and Headland Archaeology.
Fraser Hunter, Iron Age and Roman Curator at the National Museums of Scotland, said: "The Newbridge Chariot is a British-style chariot, but the way in which it was buried shows that the powerful people in Scottish society were tapped into trends and fashions on an international scale."
The chariot was found to be remarkably complete, with its base, two wheels and the remains of a bridle surviving. But, as Stephen Carter, a director of Headland Archaeology, explained "Our main challenge was finding enough organic material in the wheels of the chariot to allow us to date it, as much of the wood has been replaced by iron corrosion over time. It is very satisfying that the scientific process has confirmed our initial instincts so accurately."
Once the conservation work is complete, the chariot will go on display at the National Museum of Scotland.
Source: Edinburgh Evening News (3 January 2004)
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