New discoveries from the “Britain’s Pompeii” in Cambridgeshire

Excavations in the Must Farm site near Whittlesea, Cambridgeshire in United Kingdom brought to light new discoveries. The site dubbed “Britain’s Pompeii” due to the remarkable state of preservation of the remains of a Bronze Age village provides detailed insight into everyday life 3000 years ago. During the excavations, lasting for 10 months now, archaeologists unearthed remains of at least five circular houses (6-8 metre diameter structures) raised on stilts on a river, flanked by marshland.

Stilts unearthed at the site (by BBC News)
Stilts unearthed at the site (by BBC News)

The experts from Cambridge Archaeological Unit of the University of Cambridge analysed the wood used in construction of the buildings, finding that it was only lived in for a short time before a fire consumed the settlement. Archaeologists also discovered evidence of fine fabric-making, varied diets and vast trading networks.

Bronze Age textile found at site (by BBC News)
Bronze Age textile found at site (by BBC News)

The excavations revealed that the people living at the site in Bronze Age made their own high quality textiles, like linen. Some of the 100 fragments of woven linen fabrics are made with threads as thin as the diameter of a coarse human hair. They are  among the finest Bronze Age examples found in Europe. Not only textile but half-products and weaving equipment were discovered, such as balls of thread, twining, bundles of plant fibres and loom weights used to weave threads together.

Details of the fabric (by BBC News)
Details of the fabric (by BBC News)

The study revealed that each of the houses contained pots of different sizes, wooden buckets and platters, metal tools, saddle querns (stone tools for grinding grains), weapons, textiles, loom weights and glass beads that belonged to the inhabitants. It is said that the beads found at the site originally came from the Mediterranean or Middle East, providing insight in the vast trade network of the Bronze Age.

Spear among the discoveries (by BBC News)
Spear among the discoveries (by BBC News)

Among other finds are around 50 bronze axes, sickles, spears, swords, razors, hammers, tweezers and awls have been found along with some 60 wooden buckets, platters and troughs as well as around 60 well preserved ceramic bowls, mugs and storage jars, dug-out canoes, and two wooden wheels.

Bronze Age beads (by Independent)

The destruction of the site by fire must have happened quickly. The population seems to have left in a hurry, leaving all their possessions behind – meals half eaten, salted or dried meat still hanging in the rafters, garments neatly folded on or around well-made wooden furniture. After the fire destroyed the site, the buildings sank into a river, which has helped to preserve the remains. The conditions of the soil preserved such fragile matter as charred remains of porridge type foods, emmer wheat and barley grains, sometimes still inside the bowls they were served in.

Charred remains of food (by BBC News)
Charred remains of food (by BBC News)

(after BBC News & Independent)

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