'A moment in time' - excavation in Whittlesey unearths Bronze Age houses and everyday items - still in good condition despite being 3,000 years old!

PUBLISHED: 07:48 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:11 12 January 2016

Archaeologists have revealed 3,000 year old circular wooden houses believed to be the best–preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found in Britain. The houses collapsed in a dramatic fire into a river preserving their contents in amazing detail. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archaeologists have revealed 3,000 year old circular wooden houses believed to be the best-preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found in Britain. The houses collapsed in a dramatic fire into a river preserving their contents in amazing detail. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

A £1.1 million archaeological excavation in Whittlesey which has unearthed 3,000-year-old wooden houses and their contents is being dubbed 'The Pompeii of Peterborough'.

Described by Historic England as an ‘extraordinary time capsule of the everyday life of our prehistoric ancestors’, it’s a huge find for the town and the country as a whole.

The homes, at Must Farm Quarry, are believed to be the best-preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found in Britain and are said to have collapsed during a fire.

The Cambridge Archaeological Unit, part of the University of Cambridge, is now mid-way through the excavation – taking place because water levels are falling at the site.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “It’s a moment in time.

Archaeologists have revealed 3,000 year old circular wooden houses believed to be the best–preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found in Britain. The houses collapsed in a dramatic fire into a river preserving their contents in amazing detail. Picture: Steve Williams.
Archaeologists have revealed 3,000 year old circular wooden houses believed to be the best–preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found in Britain. The houses collapsed in a dramatic fire into a river preserving their contents in amazing detail. Picture: Steve Williams.

“People face challenges and the more we can learn about how they dealt with them, the more we can learn about today.

“The findings tell us quite a lot about the past; that this was a marginal community, with international links, that was affected by flooding.

Mayor of Whittlesey, Councillor Alex Miscandlon, added that the result of the excavation is “absolutely fantastic.

“I think it’s a brilliant find. It opens up the door for a lot of people to get interested in ancient archaeology about our ancestors.

“It also heralds the archaeologists and promotes the town.

“Some of the remains will be placed in Peterborough City Museum to show that people lived here a long time ago and lived a full life.

“It also makes people think, ‘what else is there here?’”

Chris Wakefield, outreach officer of Cambridge Archaeological Unit, said of the ceramic bowls and kitchen utensils that have been found: “The fire was so hot that it made the vegetable material turn into glass.

“Some of the remains are in a laboratory for chemical analysis.

“It’s incredibly rare in England, the UK and even Europe to find remains in such a good condition, with this high degree of detail.

“People will be learning from the site and its remains in years to come”.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Cambs Times

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists