3,000-Year-Old 'British Pompeii' Unearthed by Archaeologists
The village, destroyed by a fire, is giving researchers new info about the Bronze Age.
More than 3,000 years ago, a fire decimated a small British village.
The fire destroyed everything in less than an hour, but no bodies were left behind. This mysterious place, which is often compared to Italy’s Pompeii, is now under excavation—and archaeologists are getting a much better understanding of how people lived during the Bronze Age.
Must Farm, located Cambridgeshire Fens, has become “one of the most complete Bronze Age assemblages ever discovered in Britain” since excavation started last August, according to the Must Farm Site Diary.
Because the fire devastated everything so quickly, objects were instantly entombed and protected for millennia.
Archaeologists have determined that during the Bronze Age, the villagers ate a diet of wild boar, deer and fish and raised farm animals. They moved in hollowed-out canoes. Beads made of glass, jet and amber were found scattered among the ruins. They lived in houses with bronze pottery and wooden plates. Spear heads, ax heads and sickle heads were all among the artifacts found.
The village community was made up of about 30 people, living in nine or 10 round houses made of wood. When the fire started, the wooden houses collapsed into the nearby river and were instantly covered by river silt and embalmed for 3,000 years.
Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the site is that archaeologists have not found any human remains—save one human trophy bone—although evidence points to the fire being started deliberately.
As the excavation wraps up, this big mystery still dangles in the air. Did the villagers evacuate or were they attacked? Was it premeditated or spontaneous?
Whatever the answer to the mystery, at least we now understand a little more about how early Brits once lived. It’s yet to be determined if Must Farm will become a tourist pull like Pompeii once the excavation concludes.