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'Peterborough Pompeii'

last modified Jan 13, 2016 03:16 PM
Must Farm excavations reveal Bronze Age wooden roundhouses almost in same state of presesrvation as the day they plunged into the Fens 3,000 years ago
'Peterborough Pompeii'

Glass beads thought to have been from a necklace

What are thought to be the best-preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found in Britain are the latest in a series of exciting finds at the Must Farm site, near Whittlesey in Peterborough, currently being excavated by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU).  

The prehistoric dwellings or roundhouses were built on stilts on a river and destroyed by fire 3,000 years ago, causing the remains to collapse into the water and silt. Archaeologists have now reached the river bed as it was 1000-800 BC and the charred roof timbers of one of the roundhouses are clearly visible, alongside timbers with tool marks and a perimeter of wooden posts which once enclosed the site.

Says David Gibson, Archaeological Manager at CAU: "We're going to go inside a Bronze Age home, we're going to see what's in there, what they were wearing, what they were eating on the day of the fire."

“Usually at a Later Bronze Age period site you get pits, post-holes and maybe one or two really exciting metal finds. Convincing people that such places were once thriving settlements takes some imagination.

“But this time so much more has been preserved – we can actually see everyday life during the Bronze Age in the round. It’s prehistoric archaeology in 3D with an unsurpassed finds assemblage both in terms of range and quantity,” he said.  




Other recent finds include exotic glass beads forming part of an elaborate necklace, rare small cups, bowls and jars complete with past meals still inside and textiles made of plant fibres such as lime tree bark.  


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Posted 12.01.2016

An Oral History of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research