'Britain's Pompeii' found in Bronze Age settlement


British archaeologists recently announced the presence of a perfectly-preserved ‘bronze age village’ in the United Kingdom county of Cambridgeshire, a site now popularly known as “Britain’s Pompeii.”

Like the Roman city of Pompeii – which was perfectly preserved for centuries after the devastating eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 – the village had been buried into a nearby ancient river after a devastating fire caused the houses to fall into it, according to the team from Historic England and the University of Cambridge.

The site, which was composed of circular houses built on stilts above the river, also provided archaeologists with an extraordinary insight into domestic life 3,000 years ago.

“It’s a frozen moment in time,” Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said in an interview. “We are learning more about the food our ancestors ate, and the pottery they used to cook and serve it … This site is of international significance and its excavation really will transform our understanding of the period.”

Archaeologists found an extraordinary time capsule buried just over six feet below the ground surface, where the river bed actually was in 1000-800 BC. It contained textiles, small cups, bowls and jars complete with past meals still inside.

Such is the level of preservation that the footprints of those living there are still visible in the waterlogged sediments.

The archaeologists also found exotic glass beads that were part of an elaborate necklace, suggesting “a sophistication not usually associated with the British Bronze Age,” Cambridge Archaeological Unit said in a statement.

The way the objects were found indicate that people were forced to leave everything behind when fire caught on the houses, although it is not yet clear whether it was an accident or fire was set deliberately by hostile forces.

The archaeologists expect to find much more as the excavation, which is now half way through the four-year project, continues over the coming months.

“Usually at a Later Bronze Age period site you get pits, post-holes and maybe one or two really exciting metal finds,” David Gibson, archaeological manager at the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, said.

“But this time so much more has been preserved – we can actually see everyday life during the Bronze Age in the round. It’s prehistoric archaeology in 3D with an unsurpassed finds assemblage both in terms of range and quantity,” he added. (With report from Discovery News)

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