UK's best bronze age site dig ends but analysis will continue for years
One winter some 3,000 years ago, a development of highly desirable houses was built on stilts over a tributary of the river Nene in Cambridgeshire, by people whose wealth and lifestyle would still have seemed enviable to medieval peasants. Then six months later it was all over... continues...
Vital clues into how ancient Britons lived thousands of years ago have been unearthed on a bypass site. Among the items uncovered along the A142 between Newmarket and Fordham (Cambridgeshire, England) include skeletons from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, along with a body from Roman times... continues...
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Flag Fen (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes
I had a few hours to kill in Peterborough so thought I would head off to Flag Fen rather than aimlessly around the shops. My expectations were low as I do not usually enjoy these reconstructed educational parks, however, it was a nice day and so I decided I might as well at least enjoy a walk there and back. I headed for the Perkins Industrial Estate, down Fourth Drove and soon found myself in open countryside on a pathway that led directly to Flag Fen, through an open gate and into the park at the opposite end to the visitor centre and payment desk free to wander round at leisure. It was a Friday and with the exception of a school trip I seemed to be the only other person there which left me a little worried as to whether the place was closed to the public and whether I should be there or not. In any case I spent a most enjoyable couple of hours there, the place is really dedicated to trying to show how fen people may have lived in the iron age and includes a reconstructed round house, a building housing remnants of a wooden walkway across the fen and a building housing a movie hall and the preservation site for wooden boats discovered at the nearby Must Farm. A further building held exhibits featuring articles found during excavation and various archaeological digs. For the school kids there was also a building housing a mock dig site where they could indulge themselves and run off some energy. The park included a reconstructed Drove and marked out the line of the old Roman Road from Peterborough to Norwich. Pleased I had decided to visit, and surprised how much there was there, I slipped out the back gate and was soon swallowed up by the Industrial Estate and eventually spat out into the Queensgate shopping centre all of which rather left me wondering which time period I would rather be living in. I resolved the little matter of entrance fee just in case you thought I was freerolling!
Bronze Age wheel at 'British Pompeii' Must Farm an 'unprecedented find'
A complete Bronze Age wheel believed to be the largest and earliest of its kind found in the UK has been unearthed.
The 3,000-year-old artefact was found at a site dubbed "Britain's Pompeii", at Must Farm in Cambridgeshire.
Archaeologists have described the find - made close to the country's "best-preserved Bronze Age dwellings" - as "unprecedented".
Still containing its hub, the 3ft-diameter (one metre) wooden wheel dates from about 1,100 to 800 BC.
The wheel was found close to the largest of one of the roundhouses found at the settlement last month.
More on the Bronze Age wheel discovery
Its discovery "demonstrates the inhabitants of this watery landscape's links to the dry land beyond the river", David Gibson from Cambridge Archaeological Unit, which is leading the excavation, said.
TL 39124310. The remains of an Iron Age square barrow located 170 metres north east of Summer House Farm. The barrow mound has been reduced by ploughing and is no longer visible above ground, but the surrounding ditch survives as a cropmark. This feature is roughly 20 metres square and encloses a central burial pit, also visible as a cropmark in aerial photographs. Scheduled. (1)
The monument includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow located 250 metres to the south of Waterhall Farm, within a small copse immediately to the north of the A14 known as `The Rookery'. The barrow mound is roughly circular in plan and domed in profile, measuring circa 35 metres in diameter and 1 metre high. The barrow forms part of a dispersed group or cemetery which included at least ten similar barrows, seven of which still survive and are scheduled separately.
[TL 67896700] TUMULUS [LB] (1) Shown on Fox's BA map as a round barrow under the heading "unexamined or destroyed without record of their contents having been preserved." Date unknown but situation suggests Bronze Age. (2)
This barrow lies deep in nettles and undergrowth but from the limited observation possible it appears to be a bowl barrow at least 40.0m in diameter and 1.5m height.
(A: TL 67186675; B: TL 67256685; C: TL 67236696; D: TL 67346690; E: TL 67476700) Tumuli (NR) (Sites of) (NAT) (1) Shown on map as Bronze Age barrows. (2)
Group of six tumuli, at present under crop so that full survey is impracticable. The tumuli are clearly mis-sited on OS 6".
A - Bowl barrow, 30.0m in diameter and 1.0m high.
B - Slight swelling crossed by west boundary fence of waterworks. Site of probably bowl barrow.
C - Slight swelling crossed by farm track. Site of probable bowl barrow.
D - Bowl barrow 35.0m in diameter and 1.0m high.
E - Bowl barrow 45.0m in diameter and 1.0m high.
F - Bowl barrow 40.0m in diameter and 0.7m high.
Sited approximately on 1:2500 antiquity model.
(A: TL 67156666; B: TL 67276677; C: TL 67216697; D: TL 67306695; E: TL 67426693; F: TL 67556702) Tumuli (NR) (Twice) (4)
Two of the barrows were excavated in April 1973 in advance of their destruction by roadworks for the Newmarket bypass. (5)
Barrow B, TL 67276676, partly underlay the fence of the water pumping station and could not be completely investigated. Trenches across the accessible part failed to reveal anything and the mound appears to be of natural origin.
Barrow A, TL 67176665, was also of natural origin but had five inhumation graves and a cremation cut into its summit. The minimum number of individuals interred was possibly five females, three males, and three immature individuals. The largest grave, grave 11, contained beaker sherds, numerous flint flakes, an ox bone, a small, circular coal bead, and a small bronze or copper cylinder. None of the other graves contained grave goods. (5)
Barrows A to F are as follows:-
Sites 'A' 'B' and 'F' destroyed or mutilated by new A11 by-pass.
'C': No change.
'D': A slight lift upon a natural rise in undulating chalk at present under plough. It measures overall circa 34.0m in diameter by 0.4m high.
'E': Slight lift in undulating chalk plough which measures circa 45.0m in diameter by 0.4m high.
'F': A slight rise in undulating chalk partially cut by the boundary of the new A11 by-pass. Averages 40.0m in diameter by 0.4m high, but only the western half survives.
Published 1:2500 survey revised on M.S.D. (6)
TL 53675280 & TL 53735287. Tumuli (NR). (1) Three Bronze Age barrows situated in Chaterhouse Plantation east of the Newmarket to London road, excavated by Neville in 1848. The first 5-6 ft high and 50 ft in diameter contained two cremations each with a cinerary urn in basin-shaped cists about 3 ft in circumference and 20 ins deep scopped out of the solid chalk. Other finds included a bronze pin, a fragment of coarse cloth in which the burnt bones had been wrapped and burnt oxen bones throughout the mound. The second barrow of similar size to the first contained one cremation with an urn but no cist. Finds included 8 black flint "arrowheads" (So called, evidently flakes) "unused", near it. A heap of 6 similar "arrowheads" were found near the edge of the mound and 3 more elsewhere in the mound. A portion of a small bronze ornament must be regarded as a secondary deposit. The third barrow contained a primary inhumation and bones of ox and sheep, and a secondary interment of Roman (?) date was noted. (2)
A group of four barrows (A-D), lying on level ground and partly covered by a tree belt. (A-C excavated by Neville).
'A' TL 53665280. A bowl barrow 22.0m in diameter and 1.5m high, slightly truncated by ploughing on the south east side. No trace of a ditch visible.
'B' TL53705284. A bowl barrow 16.0m in diameter and 1.0m high, no ditch is evident.
'C' TL 53725286. A bowl barrow 18.0m in diameter and 0.8m high slightly reduced on the south east side by ploughing. No trace of a ditch.
'D' TL 53735282. A probable barrow lying on level plough and visible as a light soil mark on OS AP (a). It measures circa 30.0m in diameter and 0.4m high, but has been much reduced by ploughing. No trace of a ditch.
Published 25" survey revised on AM. (3) TL 537 528. Balsham. 2 cists, Bronze Age structures, excavated within barrows and ring-ditches. (4)
Four bowl barrows situated south-east of Heath Farm, and forming part of a dispersed round barrow cemetery in Charterhouse Plantation. The southernmost mound ['A'] lies 920 metres south-east of Heath Farm and measures 25 metres in diameter and 1.5 metres high. Around 40 metres north-east lies another mound ['C'], approximately 17.5 metres in diameter and up to 0.5 metre high. The northernmost barrow ['B'] measures 21 metres in diameter and 1 metre high. To the east, lies a mound ['D'] which has been partly levelled by ploughing, but survives as a slight earthwork, with a diameter of 30 metres and a height of 0.4 metres. The surrounding ditches are believed to survive as buried features, 3 metres wide. In 1848, three of the barrows ['A', 'B' and 'C'] were partly excavated. One contained 2 cists cut into the natural chalk, each containing a cremated burial. Evidence suggests that fires had been lit within the cists. Charcoal from the funerary pile and burnt ox bones were found throughout the mound. The other two barrows contained interments but no cists, and one had been re-used as a burial place during the Roman period. Scheduled. (5)
LONG MOUND (TL 59036202) lies 380 yds. N.W. of Beacon Farm on a low chalk rise at 110 ft. above O.D. It has been heavily ploughed and almost completely destroyed. The low mound is 150 ft. long and 40 ft. wide but is only 9 ins.-1 ft. high. It is orientated almost E.N.E-W.S.W. and is surrounded by a shallow ditch now 25 ft. wide and up to 9 ins. deep.(1) Ploughed out; no remains.(2) Additional reference.(3)
TL 58926211. Buried remains of a long barrow south east of Partridge Hall Farm. The barrow mound has been reduced by ploughing and is no longer visible above ground, but the surrounding ditch and the central burial area appear on aerial photographs as cropmarks. The barrow is aligned east-west and measures roughly 66 metres long and 30 metres wide. Scheduled. (4)
Archaeological Investigation between June 2011 and October 2012 within the palaeochannel at Must Farm Quarry revealed later prehistoric wooden structures including fish traps, weirs and post alignments, but also eight well preserved later Bronze Age / Early Iron Age logboats. The significance of these logboats lies not only in their collection as a group of artefacts, but in the quality of the contextual detail in which they were recovered. In addition, a number of aretfacts of both organic and non-organic material were uncovered deomstrating the extent of exploitation wihtin and more importantly throughout the channel's existence. This is reflected in the collection of metalwork which also spans approximately 1200 years and includes bronze swords, daggers, rings, rapiers, a razor, a pin, a brooch and iron swords still riveted to their wooden handles. (1-2)
TL 62087335 Two ploughed down barrows near Fordham (not visible on AP's). (1-2)
(TL 6211 7334) A bowl barrow under light pasture, measuring overall c23.0m in diameter and c0.8m high on the N side falling away to c0.4m high on the S side. A slight vegetation growth around the N arc possibly suggests a surrounding ditch; there is no central depression, to the mound, which appears undisturbed. The farmer here reports no serious disturbance to this field within his memory, (c40 years) and reports no finds being made or other mounds having existed. The barrow is situated on a relatively high neck of land between two old watercourses to the E and W, with the land dropping away to the N, giving the mound a localised prominence. There is no ground trace of another tumulus in this area.Surveyed at 1:2500 on MSD. (3)
Scheduled; number 258. (4) Scheduled listing (5) SMR 7568 describes a large Neolithic flint scatter and additionally two ploughed down barrows. The barrows are identical to those listed in SMR 7515, one of these has been scheduled (SM27168) while the other has been levelled to such an extent it can no longer be identified on the ground. (7)
A Late Bronze Age complex of post alignments comprising around 950 posts discovered as part of excavation and evaluation ahead of quarrying at Barleycroft Farm. The posts roughly followed east-west and north-south axes, in 9 distinct lines. Although the posts have no absolute date, the absence of any Iron Age finds in the vicinity at the time of investigation has been interpreted as indicative that the posts are contemporary with Bronze Age fieldsystems on the same site. There was a distinct paucity of finds, which amounted to only a small number of burnt human skull fragments in one of the post holes of line 2. The post alignments are unusual as they do not appear to be enclosure lines and the lack of deposited finds would suggest it is not a purely 'ritual' site, or associated with domestic use. Also found on the site were very slight traces of two roundhouses of general Bronze Age date, as well as a pit cluster from the Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age and pits contemporary with the post alignments. The alignments are located between two other Bronze Age sites; ring ditches and a cremation cemetery to the west and the 'Over Barrow Group' to the east across the river, and it has been inferred that the post alignments were constructed to link the two sites together.