|27 June 2012
Mysterious structure found on ancient Welsh lakeshore
Archaeologists have unearthed the foundation of a massive, ancient timber structure, in what is now southeast Wales. Three giant wooden beams once lay alongside one another on a floodplain at the edge of an ancient lake. The strange ruin, its discoverers say, is unlike anything found before in the United Kingdom and possibly all of Europe.
Steve Clarke, chairman and founding member of the Monmouth Archaeological Society, and his team discovered the remnants earlier this month. They initially thought the structures were sleeper beams, placed in the ground to form the foundations of a house, however the pieces appear too large. While a typical sleeper would span about 30 centimetres across, these were about 1 meter across and at least 15 meters long - the archaeologists are still digging and don't yet know exactly how long.
Clarke says the structure's builders appear to have placed whole trees, split in half lengthwise, into the ground. He suggests the structures may have been part of a causeway to a crannog, or artificial island, in the middle of the lake. "Even so… it's huge." The archaeologists say the structure, at its oldest, could date to the Bronze Age - around 4,000 years ago. Beneath the beams the researchers found a burnt mound of rock and charcoal fragments, alongside a hearth and trough.
Clarke believes determining a reliable age for the structure will be tricky. The archaeologists have already sent off charcoal samples from the burnt mound, and expect results later this month. "And we now have some charcoal from the bottom of the (timber) slots," Clarke said. "Hopefully that will give us a closer date."
Edited from MSNBC / LiveScience (22 June 2012)
Share this webpage: