The largest and earliest of its kind, a Bronze Age wheel has been discovered at a site dubbed “Britain’s Pompeii.” The wooden wheel is in near perfect condition and astonishingly still has its hub attached. Archaeologists are confident the wheel and the site will offer a never-before-seen glimpse into the life of early Britain and help understand the level of technological sophistication as well as evolved transportation systems during the period of human evolution and marked interaction with metals.
The site is identified as “Must Farm” but has become famous as “Peterborough’s Pompeii” or “Britain’s Pompeii” for the amazing archaeological finds that keep showing up, reports BBC News.
Researchers are hoping the wheel will vastly extend our understanding of Bronze Age technologies and sophistication of transport systems prevalent during one of the most-noted evolutionary stages of mankind, shares Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England.
“This remarkable but fragile wooden wheel is the earliest complete example ever found in Britain. The existence of this wheel expands our understanding of Late Bronze Age technology and the level of sophistication of the lives of people living on the edge of the Fens 3,000 years ago.”
Experts think the wheel, thought to date from somewhere between 1100 and 800 BCE, will shed new light on the lives of our ancestors, reports Yahoo News. The wooden wheel is among a number of discoveries at a farm quarry in Whittlesey. The wheel is about a meter in diameter and is in remarkable condition for its age. It even contains part of the original axel, which could indicate the transport systems that it carried, reveals site director Mark Knight.
“Before today only two other Bronze Age wheels had been found in England and these were in fragments. Another intact wheel originally thought to be a shield has been found in Scotland, but that’s it for this kind of technology. Combined with other finds at Must Farm, the discovery helps provide an extraordinary insight into domestic life 3,000 years ago.”
The oldest ever wheel belonging to the Bronze Age was found at nearby Flag Fen and dated back to 1300 BCE. However, as with wooden artifacts, time hadn’t been kind. What’s more, it was incomplete as well as quite smaller to the one just discovered. Until today, the size of the wheels was used to draw inferences about the carts they carried. The newly-discovered wheel should allow archaeologists and historians to imagine carts that would undoubtedly be bigger and broader, meant to ferry heavy materials.
Interestingly, the preserved wheel, along with other artifacts, hints that people lived on a diet of lamb, pork, beef, barley, and wheat. Moreover, the diversified diet is a sure indicator that the settlements had strong trade links with other communities on dry land, continued Knight.
“We can tell these people were thriving. They were not bog dwellers nor were they on the edge of their world, they were at the centre of it. This was a planned settlement with the wood used for its construction coming from managed woodland. This tells me this is not a one-off and there are more of these settlements along these lines. This was the beginning of colonisation and these finds are the first glimpse of a lost world.”
Dwellings discovered at Must Farm quarry, Whittlesey, in the East Anglian fens, were built on stilts on a river, reported Express. However, the thriving community suddenly vanished due to a blazing inferno that engulfed and destroyed the settlements. Now, numerous teams routinely discover numerous well-preserved artifacts from the period. The region has regularly drawn comparisons to the Roman city Pompeii. This is because it provides a neatly preserved time capsule into the life during the Bronze Age, just around the time the era was coming to an end.
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