ARCHAEOLOGISTS and builders have revealed what is believed to be an unparalleled Iron Age discovery near Pocklington.

For seven months, experts worked in secret to excavate two barrows near the East Yorkshire town. Each was constructed more than 2,000 years ago.

Inside one was the only Iron Age chariot with standing horses found in Britain and the body of a warrior in his late 40s believed to be of high standing in his community.

A young warrior aged between 17 to 25, who appeared to have died in conflict, was in the other barrow and may also have been well regarded by his community.

Now the public will be able to see how the dig was done and details of the barrows’ contents.

They are the main focus of the final episode of BBC Four’s Digging for Britain series, due to be shown on December 19.

Paula Ware, of MAP Archaeological Practice, who excavated the barrows, said: “We feel privileged to be part of such a significant find. This provides a valuable insight into the ritual of Iron Age burials.

“The upright horses were positioned in motion as though leaping upwards out of the grave.

“The skeleton of the ‘warrior’ man was placed in a crouched position in the cart of the chariot with a remarkably well-preserved bronze shield decorated in La Tene style and a beautifully, highly decorated brooch.

“Evidence reveals the man was post 46-years old, which is above the average life expectancy of males during this era.”

The barrows were on land where Persimmon Homes Yorkshire is building a 200-house development.

Planning permission included a clause that archaeologists investigated the site before houses were built.

Simon Usher, managing director at Persimmon Homes Yorkshire, said: “Everyone has been absolutely thrilled by the finds.

“Keeping the news under wraps while the excavation was completed has been a real challenge, but so important to ensure the integrity of the site.

“Further investigations are underway, and we were delighted that the BBC’s Digging For Britain programme chose to feature this find in their latest series.”

Initially the archaeologists found the remains of a Saxon settlement covering 3.2 hectares. But then they found the two much older Iron Age barrows.

The young man was in a round barrow and the older man in a larger square barrow.

Pig bones around the older man may be the result of a burial ritual.

The building company wants to donate the finds to a museum and is hoping that a local one will be able to take them.