3,000-year-old Bronze Age wheel unearthed in UK

3,000-year-old Bronze Age wheel unearthed in UK

In an unprecedented find, a 3,000-year-old wheel from the Bronze Age was today unearthed by British archaeologists, believed to be the largest and earliest such wheel to be found in the UK.

The wheel was found during an ongoing excavation work at a farm in Cambridgeshire, dubbed "Britain's Pompeii" after a complete prehistoric township was discovered buried on the site recently.

"This site is one continuing surprise, but if you had asked me, a perfectly preserved wheel is the last thing I would have expected to find," said Mark Knight from the Cambridge university archaeology unit, who is the site director.

"On this site objects never seen anywhere else tend to turn up in multiples, so it's certainly not impossible we will go on to find another even better wheel," he added.

Historic England, which is jointly funding the 1.1 million pound excavation with landowner Forterra, described the find as "unprecedented in terms of size and completeness".

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said: "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."

Archaeologists are carefully excavating the wheel, which was found still attached to its hub and burnt by fire that destroyed the settlement built on stilts over a tributary of the river Nene.

The site was first revealed by the deep pits dug for a brick clay quarry at Must Farm, on the outskirts of Peterborough in the east of England.

The wheel was found lying on top of a massive floor timber, believed to have been part of a third house on the site, and may originally have been hanging on a wall.

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