National Bronze Age museum could be built in city

Bronze Age wheel found at Must Farm archaeological dig at Kings Dyke. EMN-160218-132814009

Talks to create a major national museum to celebrate Peterborough and the surrounding area’s incredible Bronze Age history have begun.

A number of organisations, including Peterborough City Council, Vivacity, the British Museum and The University of Cambridge, are in discussions about how best to display the discoveries found at Must Farm and Flag Fen.

Bronze Age wheel found at Must Farm archaeological dig at Kings Dyke. EMN-160218-133013009

Last January the world’s media was amazed by the archeological dig at Must Farm, near Whittlesey, which saw ancient round houses preserved in the clay.

The discovery has been described as ‘the Pompei of the Fens’ because of the way the finds had been preserved, and what they told archeologists about life in the Fens 3,000 years ago. Wooden roundhouses, which were destroyed by a fire thousands of years ago, where uncovered, as were tools, bones and even pots still containing food.

Journalists and historians from across the world descended on the Must Farm Quarry to see the operation to recover the finds.

A report looking at the possibility of creating a National Bronze Age museum for the city had been prepared in 2014, with the discoveries at Flag Fen being at the heart of the plans - but now the report is being looked at again, to take into account the new discoveries.

Bronze Age wheel found at Must Farm archaeological dig at Kings Dyke. Pictured is human skull EMN-160218-133024009

Steve Bowyer, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough said: “We have had some amazing Bronze Age finds, at Flag Fen and with the Log Boats originally.

“On the back of those finds in 2013, Vivacity and Peterborough City Council started to look at how best to display these.

“But everything was taken to another level by the Must Farm roundhouses - they gave an amazing insight into Bronze Age life, which was shown by the international interest in it.
“We are now refreshing the interest into this - we want to know what is the best solution for Peterborough, and the surrounding towns including Whittlesey and the Fens.

“We have to look at how best to conserve them, display them, and also the best opportunity for economic growth.”

Bronze Age wheel found at Must Farm archaeological dig at Kings Dyke. EMN-160218-133036009

Mr Bowyer said a number of options were being looked at, from a large museum in Peterborough, to a small heritage centre, or even the finds being spread in two locations - possibly including Whittlesey.

He said: “The locations we looked at originally at are commercially sensitive, but we are looking at a range of sites and a whole range of solutions.

“It could be city based, at Flag Fen, or at other sites.

“That of course has changed - even just looking at the amount of artefacts we have from Must Farm, there is a lot of things, let along looking at the significance.

Bronze Age wheel found at Must Farm archaeological dig at Kings Dyke. EMN-160218-133100009

“A lot of work has to be done - the report is just looking at where we want the path to go, not about what the path will look like or delivering it.
“We are hoping to have more of an update in April or May.”

Mr bowyer said it was vital to have prestigious partners on board. He said: “For this to work it has to be a sound business proposition.

“People like the University of Cambridge, Historic England and the British Museum are important partners in this. They want to see significant things happening there, and have expertise in these matters.”

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