A 3,000-year-old wooden wheel used by early settlers during the Bronze Age has been discovered at Must Farm near Petersborough in England, giving insights into how people lived in the past and what technological innovations they came up with in times past.
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The discovered wooden wheel is 1-meter in diameter and very preserved in silt to the extent that its center hub can still be seen. The wheel is believed to be dated 1100-800 BC. This particular find in Must Farm is very complete although an incomplete wheel was found in Flag Fen in the 1990s.
“This remarkable but fragile wooden wheel is the earliest complete example ever found in Britain,” said Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England. “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.”
Researchers believe large wooden round houses built on stilts were located in this area in ancient times, but the whole place fell into the river after fire broke out 3,000 years ago – with many of the structures falling into the river and getting largely preserved by silt over the centuries.
Apart from the fact that the wooden wheel was discovered close to the largest wooden house on stilt on the site, archaeologists unearthed ancient artefacts such as a wooden platter, wooden box, small bowls, jars with food still remaining inside, fine textiles, and Bronze Age tools.
“This is an incredible project which we are delighted to be part of. We understand that the discovery of the wheel is of national importance,” said Brian Chapman, head of Land and Mineral Resources at Forterra. “We are committed to helping uncover the remaining secrets of this unique site at Must Farm and look forward to working with our partners over the coming months.”
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Formerly known as English Heritage, Historic England and Forterra – a building products supplier, jointly funded the excavation of 1,100 square meters of the Must Farm site in Cambridgeshire for £1.1 million. The site has produced large quantities of Bronze Age metalwork, including a rapier and sword in 1969, and more recently the discovery of eight well-preserved log boats in 2011.