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15 July 2015
Bronze Age food discovered at prehistoric settlement

Evidence of the lives of prosperous people in Bronze Age Britain could lie under the soil of a 1,100-square metre site destroyed in a fire 3,000 years ago, say archaeologists who are about to start digging within a brick pit near Peterborough, about 130 kilometres north of London.
     Must Farm - part of the Flag Fen Basin, and the site where nine pristine log boats were famously unearthed in 2011 - was protected by a ring of wooden posts before a dramatic fire at the end of the Bronze Age caused the dwelling to collapse into the river. Its submergence preserved its contents, including decorated tiles made from lime tree bark.
     Small pots, jars complete with 1,200-year-old meals and exotic glass beads are expected to provide a complete picture of prehistoric life during the nine-month excavation, which is part of a four-year project at the site.
     "We think those living in the settlement were forced to leave everything behind when it caught on fire," says Kasia Gdaniec, Cambridgeshire County Council's Senior Archaeologist. "Among the items was a charred pot with vitrified food inside it and a partially charred spoon, suggesting that the site had been abandoned quickly. We anticipate that more of the timber structure, a range of organic remains and fishing equipment and the whole gamut of personal, work and settlement paraphernalia will be found."
     The finds are well preserved due to the waterlogged sediments within this former river channel. David Gibson, the Archaeological Manager at the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, says: "It's a fantastic chance to find out how people in the Late Bronze Age lived their daily lives, including how they dressed and what meals they ate."

Edited from Past Horizons (14 June 2015), Culture24 (25 June 2015)

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