Elaborate grave of a real-life Asterix ‘mystery’ warrior

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Part of the headdress from the helmet belonging to a real-life Asterix resistance fighter against the Romans that has been discovered on a West Sussex building site. The discovery will go on display at Chichester


Elaborate grave of a real-life Asterix warrior found in Sussex belongs to a French refugee who fled the Roman Army of Julius Caesar in 50BC

  • Highly-elaborate grave of a real-life Asterix resistance fighter has been found 
  • The Iron Age warrior was buried with his glamorous and ornate head-dress
  • Archaeologists believe the person may have been a refugee French Gallic fighter
  • Due to the richness of the finds within the grave, we believe that the mystery warrior held one of the most prestigious roles in the country

A highly-elaborate grave of what could have been a real-life Asterix fighter has been discovered on a West Sussex building site.

The warrior was buried with an ornate head-dress, along with a sword and helmet, indicating that he once held ‘one of the most prestigious roles in the country’.

Archaeologists believe he may have been a refugee French Gallic fighter who fled Julius Caesar’s Roman army as they swept across continental Europe in about 50BC. 

Asterix is a fictional character in the French comic book series of the same name which portrays him as a diminutive but fearless Gaulish warrior living in the time of the Gallic Wars in Britain.

The team described the find, which will go on display at the Chichester Museum in 2020, as ‘the most elaborately equipped warrior grave ever found in England’.

Part of the headdress from the helmet belonging to a real-life Asterix resistance fighter against the Romans that has been discovered on a West Sussex building site. The discovery will go on display at Chichester’s Novium Museum in January 2020

WHAT IS ASTERIX? 

Asterix is a fictional character in the French comic book series Asterix which portrays him as a diminutive but fearless Gaulish warrior living in the time of the Gallic Wars in Britain.  

It was first published in 1959 in Pilote magazine. 

It tells the tale of how he lives in a Brittany village where all inhabitants are made invincible by a magic potion created periodically by a druid.

A Roman invader tying to find the secret is found out when his fake moustache falls off. 

He then finds the magic potion. 

Asterix learns of the druid’s capture and then infiltrates the Roman camp.  

He demands strawberries to demand time, consumed them all and gives them the recipe to accelerate the growth of beards and hair. 

The Roman rebels are defeated and Julius Ceasar learns of their intentions to overthrow him. 

He frees Asterix and punishes his own defectors.  

The grave was found during excavations ahead of a Berkeley Homes housing development in North Bersted in 2008.

But it has taken years of conservation and scientific analysis to prepare the artefacts for display.

‘It really is absolutely a unique find in the British Isles and in the wider continent,’ said Dr Melanie Giles, senior lecturer in archaeology at the University of Manchester.

‘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.

‘We will probably never know his name, what we know from the archaeology is that he is either someone from eastern England who may have gone and fought with the Gauls, which we know were a problem for Caesar, as they were allies with the French, helping them with their struggle against him.

Dr Giles also said he might be a Frenchman who flees that conflict, possibly a real-life Asterix and lending aid in terms of the knowledge he has about strategy and  tactics. 

‘Also he brings with him his kit, extraordinary weaponry, a beautiful sword which is not like the swords we have, a new technology, style and design and helmet which is absolutely unique. 

The warrior was buried with an ornate head-dress, along with a sword and helmet, indicating that he once held 'one of the most prestigious roles in the country. Pictured here, the warrior's helmet

The warrior was buried with an ornate head-dress, along with a sword and helmet, indicating that he once held ‘one of the most prestigious roles in the country. Pictured here, the warrior’s helmet

The warrior was also buried with a sword which had been 'decommissioned' by being heated and bent along with his shield, spear and food for the afterlife Here,  the sword belonging to the mystery warrior

The warrior was also buried with a sword which had been ‘decommissioned’ by being heated and bent along with his shield, spear and food for the afterlife Here,  the sword belonging to the mystery warrior

The grave was found during excavations ahead of a Berkeley Homes housing development in North Bersted in 2008. But it has taken years of conservation and scientific analysis to prepare the artefacts for display

The grave was found during excavations ahead of a Berkeley Homes housing development in North Bersted in 2008. But it has taken years of conservation and scientific analysis to prepare the artefacts for display

Asterix is a fictional character in the French comic book series Asterix which portrays him as a diminutive but fearless Gaulish warrior living in the time of the Gallic Wars in Britain

Asterix is a fictional character in the French comic book series Asterix which portrays him as a diminutive but fearless Gaulish warrior living in the time of the Gallic Wars in Britain

Asterix is a fictional character in the French comic book series Asterix which portrays him as a diminutive but fearless Gaulish warrior living in the time of the Gallic Wars in Britain. Dr Giles also said he might be a Frenchman who flees that conflict, possibly a real-life Asterix

Asterix is a fictional character in the French comic book series Asterix which portrays him as a diminutive but fearless Gaulish warrior living in the time of the Gallic Wars in Britain. Dr Giles also said he might be a Frenchman who flees that conflict, possibly a real-life Asterix

James Kenny, Chichester District Council’s archaeologist, explained that the ‘mystery warrior’ could have been a military leader for King Commius who fled France after fighting Caesar.

He said: ‘Due to the richness of the finds within the grave, we believe that the mystery warrior held one of the most prestigious roles in the country.

‘This is one of the most exceptional finds in this particular archeological period and is of international significance.’

He explained that the key find was the helmet with its unique ornate bronze openwork crest which would have ‘shone like gold’ and had been decorated with horse-hair plumes.

The warrior was also buried with a sword which had been ‘decommissioned’ by being heated and bent along with his shield, spear and food for the afterlife.

Mr Kenny added: ‘What distinguishes the discovery from any other burial in Britain is the breathtaking quality and beauty of the artefacts and the range of his possessions.’

WHEN DID THE ROMANS OCCUPY BRITAIN?

55BC – Julius Caesar crossed the channel with around 10,000 soldiers. They landed at a beach in Deal and were met by a force of Britons. Caesar was forced to withdraw.

54BC – Caesar crossed the channel with 27,000 infantry and cavalry. Again they landed at deal but were unopposed. They marched inland and after hard battles they defeated the Britons and key tribal leaders surrendered.

However, later that year, Caesar was forced to return to Gaul to deal with problems there and the Romans left.

54BC – 43BC – Although there were no Romans present in Britain during these years, their influence increased due to trade links.

43AD – A Roman force of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east. The emperor Claudius arrived in Colchester with reinforcements. Claudius appointed Plautius as Governor of Britain and returned to Rome.

In 43AD, a Roman force (artist's impression) of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east. The emperor Claudius then arrived in Colchester with reinforcements

In 43AD, a Roman force (artist’s impression) of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east. The emperor Claudius then arrived in Colchester with reinforcements

47AD – Londinium (London) was founded and Britain was declared part of the Roman empire. Networks of roads were built across the country.

75 – 77AD – Romans defeated the last resistant tribes, making all Britain Roman. Many Britons started adopting Roman customs and law.

122AD – Emperor Hadrian ordered that a wall be built between England and Scotland to keep Scottish tribes out.

312AD – Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal throughout the Roman empire.

228AD – The Romans were being attacked by barbarian tribes and soldiers stationed in the country started to be recalled to Rome.

410AD – All Romans were recalled to Rome and Emperor Honorious told Britons they no longer had a connection to Rome.

Source: History on the net

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