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Glastonbury Lake Village

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


Details of lake village on Pastscape

[ST 492 407] Lake Village (site of) (GT) (1) Glastonbury lake village covers an area 400 ft. N S 300 ft. E W, about 1 mile NNW of the town [See AO/LP/64/56] it was excavated by Bulleid and Gray from 1892 - 1908 and was found to have consisted of a timber and brushwood platform resting on peat, surmounted by clay-floored wattle and daub huts, indicated by low mounds. The foundations of at least sixty mostly circular huts of 14' - 40' diameter were examined. There was also evidence of rectangular huts, not in situ, believed to be earlier. The perimeter of each of the circular huts was bounded by vertical piles driven into the substructure, and each contained a central clay hearth, often much rebuilt. Stone paths were found connecting various huts whilst the whole village was surrounded by a wooden palisade (from one to four posts deep), and on the east side had a causeway 158' long, leading to a timber landing stage, with a stone embankment nearby. The finds which were extremely numerous, represented all aspects of village life e.g. weaving, fishing, agriculture, metallurgy, personal adornment etc. An enormous amount of pottery was found, but currency was only represented by two iron currency bars and part of a tin coin of 100 - 75 B.C. A flint industry, probably contemporary was noted. Dug-out boats were found in and near the village, and just outside the palisade a fine bead-rimmed bronze bowl. Two Neolithic polished stone axes were also found, probably brought to the site in the Iron Age. R.B. material consisting of pottery and metal objects found overlying the site. Most of the finds are in Taunton and Glastonbury Museums.
Hawkes dates this village to the South Western Province third B of the Iron Age, and remarks that it has become a nearly complete La Tene III culture. (2-4)
There are many hummocks in the area of the lake village but they cannot be accurately interpreted. The northern edge of the settlement is marked out by stones. (5)

A re-assessment of Glastonbury Lake Village from the existing evidence:
The site was occupied in succession by two distinct groups of people who had different cultural affinities. The first group were woodworkers who built an undefended settlement of small rectangular timber-framed houses on oak piles. They had lathes, wheeled vehicles and ploughs, and to them should be assigned the 'sceptre', the Glastonbury bowl, the currency bar, the iron key and the iron plough-share. They probably occupied the site from C150 to 60BC.
The second group probably occupiedd the site after the first village had been abandoned. They destroyed the rectangular houses and instead built round huts on crannogs, surrounding the settlement with a palisade. They had little use for wood, but had much pottery. They used looms, smelted bronze, and worked bone. They did not use wheeled vehicles or ploughs. The site was probably deserted c 50 AD because of a rise in the water level. Contrary to a widely held
belief there was no terminal massacre and no destruction by fire. See Plan (which distinguishes between the two postulated occupations). (6)
ST 493408: Glastonbury Lake Village, scheduled. (7) Logboat from Glastonbury Lake Village. Glastonbury Lake Village - models and source criticisms. (10)
Report on excavations, 1984. (11)
Chance Posted by Chance
18th March 2015ce
Edited 18th March 2015ce

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