Saxon warrior remains may stay in county

AMBITIOUS plans to house at a Suffolk museum the “internationally important” discovery of the skeleton of a Saxon warrior buried with his horse have been launched.

AMBITIOUS plans to house at a Suffolk museum the “internationally important” discovery of the skeleton of a Saxon warrior buried with his horse have been launched.

A massive £400,000 fund-raising drive to extend the Mildenhall Museum has begun after project chiefs were offered the 6th Century Lakenheath Warrior, found at the USAF base eight years ago.

Museum chiefs last night said they were surprised by the offer from Suffolk County Council's archaeological unit - but said it would be a “wonderful coup” to keep the find in Suffolk.

Stephanie Palmer, chairman of trustees, told the EADT: “It would be absolutely fantastic if we were able to keep a find of this international importance.


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“When the Lakenheath Warrior was found, we just assumed that it would be snapped up by the British Museum.

“But we have been told that there have been increasing calls to keep it local and with the West Stow Anglo Saxon Village so close, it would also enable us to have closer ties with them.

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“We have a lot of money to raise but we are confident we can do it. We are now looking at various grant and fund raising options.”

The Lakenheath Warrior is currently under research by the council's archaeological unit, which offered it to the Mildenhall Museum.

It was unearthed at RAF Lakenheath in 1997 and is a rare example of a horse deliberately sacrificed and buried with its rider - indicating the importance of the warrior. The find also included a bronze bridle still attached to the horse's skull.

Later discoveries of the remains of two Anglo-Saxon buildings were also found at the American airbase - and were believed to be from the early Saxon period.

The campaign - backed by patron Lord Iveagh of Elvedon - has already had £160,000 in pledges and will enable the museum to solve a “desperate shortage” of conservation space, according to Mrs Palmer.

With current premises dating back more than 20 years, the museum is home to the replica of the world famous Mildenhall Treasure - a Roman hoard discovered by a ploughman and kept for some time on the mantelpiece of the landowner who did not realise what he had found.

The tale of the treasure was immortalised in the book of the same name by Roald Dahl and the original hoard is kept at the British Museum, which is currently showcasing the treasure at Norwich Museum until January 15 - as part of a national roadshow of British archaeology.

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