'U.K. Pompeii' Yields 3,000-year-old Village Snapshot

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January 10, 2016

An archaeological find in England is being compared to the famous Pompeii remains.

The dig is at the Must Farm Quarry, near Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, about 80 miles north of London, and among the rich findings at the dig are whole pots with food inside, textiles, a longboat, weapons, beads, and entire homes.

The Bronze Age homes were wooden and circular (the famous roundhouses) and sat on stilts above a river. A fire started, prompting residents to flee, and the fire caused the stilts to snap and the homes to sink into the water. Later covering by silt kept the remains intact for 3,000 years.

Whittlesey is a market town near the city of Peterborough, and the find has been dubbed the “Peterborough Pompeii.”

David Gibson from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit said that the preserved food pots, bowls, and jars numbered 29; that they were both small (2 inches tall) and large (two feet high); and that one pot even had a wooden spoon still in it. Archaeologists have sent the pots off to a lab to see if they can determine just what food the people were preparing before they fled.

The mud and silt also preserved several footprints, fabric with woven patterns, and a spool of thread. Those are all being analyzed as well.

Archaeologists found major portions of the homes’ roofs, walls, and wooden posts, as well as what is left of a wooden fence that had surrounded the village.

Excavations are continuing, and the finds will eventually be on display at museums.

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