A Bronze Age wheel has been proven to be exceptionally well preserved, even though it dates back to approximately 3,000 years ago. The discovery, revealed on Friday, February 19, was made by experts from the division of archaeology at the University of Cambridge.
The team had been participating in excavation works sponsored by Historic England, a public body pertaining to the British government, and by Forterra, one of UK’s major manufacturers and suppliers of building products and materials.
Costing approximately $1.58 million, the project had been launched in order to closely examine a Bronze Age settlement discovered at Must Farm, located in Cambridgeshire, close to Peterborough.
The place is actually treated by some as Britain’s Pompeii, given the fact that its prehistoric inhabitants also perished following a devastating cataclysm.
More precisely, approximately 3,000 years ago, the circular wooden houses that they had erected on stilts in order to keep flooding at bay were devoured by fire, eventually collapsing in the river, where many remains were incredibly well preserved after being trapped under heavy silt.
The ancient site is now being excavated so as discover all the invaluable artifacts that may be hidden there, so that afterwards these pieces of history can be more effectively conserved, and then highlighted at the local museum.
The Bronze Age wheel whose unearthing has recently been announced is just one of many artifacts that have been retrieved so far, which also include platters and bowls that still contained meal crumbs, an incredibly sophisticated and intricate necklace, 8 prehistoric canoes dug up back in 2011, and even a sword and a dagger that were unearthed back in 1969.
The wooden wheel, which appears to have been built between 1,100 and 800 bC, is not the most ancient one that has been identified in Britain so far, that title belonging to another prehistoric disc found in Flag Fen, which is estimated to have been used back in 1300 BC.
However, just fragments of that earlier artifact have withstood the test of time, whereas this more recently excavated contraption, which was discovered near the site’s largest dwelling, has endured virtually unaltered, even its hub remaining as it was 3,000 years ago.
The Bronze Age wheel, composed of 5 wooden panels joined together, is also the biggest that has ever been found across the United Kingdom, its diameter measuring around 3 feet.
According to Kasia Gdaniec, senior archaeologist at Cambridge County Council’s Historic Environment Team, the significance of the discovery lies in the fact that it gives us a glimpse into the life of Bronze Age dwellers, which continues to remain shielded in so much mystery even now.
David Gibson, affiliated with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, actually believes that the Bronze Age wheel provides conclusive proof that prehistoric inhabitants of this watery region constantly interacted and traded with people from other settlements, located farther from the river.
One theory launched by archaeologist Chris Wakefield even suggests that the wheel was part of a cart pulled by horses, given the fact that an ancient carcass believed to have belonged to such an equine animal has also been found nearby, back in January.
As more such artifacts will be brought to light, researches are hoping that they will understand more about technological advances that had been achieved in those bygone times, especially when it comes to transportation but even with regard to other aspects of domestic life.
Image Source: Historic England