Published: 12:39, 07 September 2021
| Updated: 15:03, 07 September 2021
The bodies of about 40 people – including a warrior buried alongside his animals – from two eras in ancient have been unearthed on a site where new homes are being built.
And archaeologists believe this is one of the most important finds in Dover district for decades.
The cemetery includes the bodies of some of the first English speakers.
Also among those buried are a child plus a warrior believed to have been killed in battle, along with his horse and dog.
The discovery of about 40 men, women and children, at a building site in St Richard's Road in Deal, was made by Whitstable-based Kent Archaeological Projects.
KAP director Tim Allen said: "I've been an archaeologist in Kent for 36 years and this the most important find I personally have ever made.
"The Jutes were the first English-speaking people: they spoke Old English, Anglo-Saxon. This is the origin of England, right here."
The Ancient Britons before them spoke Celtic.
The site was originally a cemetery for people in the late Neolithic to early Bronze Age era of 4,000 years ago.
One of the dead found from that era is a boy aged about 12. It is not known how he died but his age was estimated from the examination of his teeth.
A ditch from 2000 BC has also been uncovered, which is thought to have been used to mark the original burial ground.
The second group of people laid to rest here are the Jutes from the 5th and 6th centuries.
It is believed that they discovered the initial cemetery and decided to adopt it for their own dead.
Among the graves are two side by side, one an outsize one for a horse and a large wolf-sized dog. the one next to it is of their owner, a Jutish warrior and nobleman.
It is thought he was killed in battle as his skull was found to be crushed. KAP believes his animals died in the same fight.
Mr Allen said: "He was a very high status nobleman. He seemed to have died in battle because his shield was placed over his face, which had been very badly crushed in so we're assuming that was the cause of death.
"He was buried with his sword, a spear, two knives. The sword was highly decorated, it had semi-precious stone in the hilt. This was quite clearly a high status burial."
Another grave was of another Jutish warrior with his sword and the remains of his shield clearly visible. It is thought he was buried around 550AD and he is estimated to have been at least 5ft 6in (168cm) tall.
His well preserved skeleton was one of the last to be moved from the site, yesterday (Monday).
The style of burial in the two eras were different. The Bronze Age graves were oval with the dead placed in late Neolithic crouched positions on their sides.
Jutes were in rectangular graves and laid on their backs with their arms crossing their chests or stretched out on their torsos. Possessions were left with the corpses because the Jutes believed they could bring them along into the next world.
The Romans had left Britain in 408AD but afterwards the country was invaded by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes.
They came from what is now Holland, Germany and Denmark respectively and Jutes were specifically from Jutland.
The invaders met fierce resistance from the Ancient Britons.
Mr Allen said: "This pretty much tells you quite a lot about life for the Jutes as they conquered Kent and took over."
The discovery was made on land being used to build 22 two, three and four bedroomed homes.
The developers are ATS Ltd and the site had previously been occupied by a large pre-1970s detached house and its garden plus a field.
It is hoped that the archaeological remains will eventually be housed in Dover Museum.