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Thursday, January 7, 1999 Published at 15:07 GMT


Ancient warrior resurrected

Recreated: The man and his horse buried 1,400 years ago

By BBC Science Correspondent James Wilkinson

Archaeologists have reconstructed the face of the warrior
The remains of a group of Anglo-Saxon warriors have been found at a burial site on the American military air base at Lakenheath in Suffolk, home to today's modern warriors.

The warriors lived around the year 600AD, when the invaders from Europe were establishing kingdoms after battles with the ancient Britons.

Their remains have yielded important clues about how they lived and fought.

One of the finds is truly unique with the remains well preserved in chalk.

[ image: Computer-generated face of a warrior]
Computer-generated face of a warrior
About 1,400 years ago, this warrior was buried with all the paraphernalia of Saxon warfare - his sword, his shield and his horse.

Archaeologists have reconstructed the face of the warrior by scanning the skull with a laser. Specialists then built in his features to reveal an accurate computer-generated picture.

The warrior's horse was even more interesting. It had been stunned by a blow to the head, fracturing its skull. Then it probably had its throat cut.

[ image: Scientists clean the horse's bridle]
Scientists clean the horse's bridle
Never before has a Saxon horse been found wearing its bridal complete with gilded ornaments. British Museum experts carefully lifted and cleaned them and reconstructed what it looked like.

One ornament was slightly bent and looked as though it caught the full impact of the blow to the horse's head.

Finally scientists painted a picture of the warrior and his horse. Using the latest scientific method, it is as accurate a picture as it is possible to get for a Saxon warrior resurrected after 1,400 years.

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