Lonely Planet Writer

British Pompeii discovered by archaeologists

After discovering the UK’s “best-preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found” a new archaeological discovery is being hailed as the British ‘Pompeii’.

Age settlement destroyed in a fire 3,000 years ago, at Must Farm quarry
Age settlement destroyed in a fire 3,000 years ago, at Must Farm quarry Image by PA

A number of circular wooden houses believed to have been built on stilts, have been found in the Must Farm quarry, in Cambridgeshire, which date to about 1000-800 BC.

The houses were preserved after a fire caused them to fall into a river, where the silt has preserved them ever since. The archaeologists discovered the settlement of houses after they excavated a nearby test trench that revealed jars, pots, and pans.

Excavations have begun now on the round houses, but archaeologists believe there are five houses. They have already found pots with what are believed to be the remains of meals in them.

The circular houses were built on stilts
The circular houses were built on stilts Image by PA

Aside from the pots, archaeologists have found “exotic” glass beads that made up a necklace which “hinted at a sophistication not usually associated with the Bronze Age”. Burnt wooden posts, timber, and types of cloth were also discovered at the site – an unparalleled amount of artefacts that documents the Bronze Age. Some of the mud the archaeologists are uncovering is believed to even reveal footprints!

Speaking to the BBC, David Gibson from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, which is leading the excavation, stressed the importance of the discovery of this settlement, which archaeologists are trying to excavate as fast as possible for fear of rising flood and rain water. “So much has been preserved, we can actually see everyday life during the Bronze Age in the round,” he said. “It’s prehistoric archaeology in 3D, with an unsurpassed finds assemblage both in terms of range and quantity.”

Archeologists are trying to beat the rains and flood waters in their excavation
Archaeologists are trying to beat the rains and flood waters in their excavation Image by PA

When the excavations are complete it is expected that the discoveries will be put on public display.