Historic England names Whittlesey Bronze Age settlement Must Farm in top 10 discoveries of the decade
Bronze Age settlement Must Farm - named ‘Britain’s Pompeii’ after its discovery in 2016 - made the exclusive list alongside the Elizabethan playhouse where Shakespeare’s Hamlet was premiered and Britain’s earlier rabbit.
Shortly after being built the settlement was destroyed in a catastrophic fire and the roundhouses, with most of their contents still inside, were preserved in the water-logged ground, giving us a time capsule of everyday life 3,000 years ago.
Found within the roundhouses were finely woven textiles made from plant fibres, stacks of cups, bowls and jars complete with food and spoons still inside, suggesting that the people living there were forced suddenly to leave everything behind when their homes caught fire.
The excavation, carried out by Cambridge Archaeological Unit and jointly funded by Historic England and Forterra, also led to the discovery of the largest, earliest complete Bronze Age wheel in Britain.
The level of preservation at the site meant that archaeologists could determine that the roundhouses had turf roofs, wickerwork floors and the people who lived there ate wild boar, red deer and pike.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “This has been a truly remarkable decade of landmark archaeological discoveries. The past never ceases to surprise us.
“Over the past 10 years archaeologists have learned where Richard III was laid to rest, about what kind of food our Bronze Age ancestors on the Fens ate and how medieval villagers in Yorkshire mutilated corpses to prevent them rising from the dead. There is always more to learn and I look forward to the next 10 years of amazing discoveries.”
Must Farm tweeted: “We’re thrilled to find out we’ve been chosen as one of the top 10 archaeological finds of the decade! What a great way to finish 2019. We’re very excited to share more of our research in 2020!”