Archaeologists discover what’s being dubbed ‘Britain’s Pompeii’ after work begins on the best-preserved Bronze Age village ever found in the country.
WHITTLESEY, ENGLAND, UK (JANUARY 11, 2016) (ITN) – Archaeologists have announced a discovered of what is believed to be the best-preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found in Britain, providing an extraordinary insight into prehistoric life from 3,000 years ago.
The settlement of large circular wooden houses, built on stilts, collapsed in a fire and plunged into a river where it was preserved in silts leaving them in pristine condition, Historic England, a government body that protects the historic environment said.
Discoveries from the dwellings in Whittlesey, in central England, which archaeologists said had been frozen in time and dated from between 1000-800 BC, included pots and finely woven clothing.
“Here we are in the UK digging a structure that seems to be preserved almost intact, with its roof still there, the floors and all of its contents. And as someone working in pre-history in Britain that is not something I thought I would ever say, so that’s particularly why it is important, but also their misfortune of it burning down is our good fortune because in the sense that it is the Pompeii effect, it’s allowed us to see their contents, their goods basically, preserved in situ,” said archaeologist Mark Knight.
Among the finds at the site, about two metres (6.5 ft) below the modern ground surface, were exotic glass beads forming part of a necklace, tools, rare small cups, bowls and jars. Some of the bowls had food preserved inside them.
Chris Wakefield, Outreach Officer from Cambridge Archaeological Unit. said it was very unusual to find preserved food remains.
“We found 29 complete vessels which is something which is really exciting for archaeologists, but what is even better than that is that there is actually preserved food remains in here and this food is basically the remains of the meal which was being eaten at the time the settlement was destroyed by a fire which is something which is phenomenally rare to find, not just in Britain, but in Europe,” Wakefield said.
Archaeologists also said that the site was so well preserved that even the footprints of those who lived at the site had been discovered.
“I think it will be viewed as one of the turning points in British archaeology,” said Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive Historic England.
Local councillor Ralph Butcher said it was remarkable to think how the community alive at that time build their homes.
“I think the age that we were surrounded by water at one time and there was people three thousand years ago living on little islands and wooden huts and to think how they built these huts with the tools that they had at the time is remarkable,” Butcher said.
Once all the items found at the site have been catalogued and cleaned they will be put on public display, Cambridge Archeological Unit said.