British Pompeii – level 3

26-02-2016 15:00

An unprecedented find – this is a wheel from the Bronze Age, and it’s the oldest and most complete to have ever been found in Britain.The roughly 3000-year-old ancient wooden wheel is one metre in diametre and so well-preserved it still contains part of the axle.

“The stuff that we’re getting here… It’s things that you can normally only dream of finding as an archaeologist.”

It’s one of many finds made by archaeologists working at this site in Peterborough near Cambridgeshire, which offers a time capsule into the lives of our prehistoric ancestors as the Bronze Age came to an end. There are round houses that were built on silts on a river and destroyed by fire 3000 years ago.

“This is literally like stepping into somebody’s life, somebody’s home.”

Last month, they discovered food remains in intact bowls.

“This food is basically the remains of the meal that was being eaten at the time the settlement was destroyed by a fire which is something that is phenomenally rare to find.”

They’ve been preserved by river silts with the team working here calling the site a British version of the Roman town of Pompeii. These discoveries give us a new picture about the way people lived between 1100-800 bc.

“It feels like 3000 years has become a few hundred years, if that makes any sense. It’s as if the sort of distance between us and the Bronze Age feels very short.”

The team will continue their dig until July with them hoping this isn’t the last piece of archaeological treasure they’ll find.

Difficult words: unprecedented (great, special), axle (a rod in the middle of the wheel), ancestor (a person who lived a long time ago before you), silt (the sand and the mud carried by water), intact (not damaged), settlement (a village), phenomenally (extremely).


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