Workers find a number of well-preserved items in ancient river bed.
Archaeologists digging in the remains of a Bronze Age community have unearth a wooden wheel that is estimated to be about 3,000 years old and it is won of the largest and best-preserved of its era, according to a story on Live Science.
The wheel was found at a location called Must Farm, which was first uncovered in 1999. Researchers are calling the area “Peterborough’s Pompeii” in reference to the Roman city that was devastated in A.D. 79, because of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The volcano flooded the area with ash and lava a left much of the town preserved, almost like frozen in time. A similar fate hit the community at Must Farm when a catastrophic fire raged through the town and caused the dwellings to fall into the River Nene, of which the sandy water preserved the objects, much the same as the ash in Pompeii.
The site at Must Farm was partially excavated in 2006, but new funding from Historic England, a heritage organization, has allowed an eight-month project to get underway, with plans to trench across some 1,100 square miles of the area. Historic England says the project is about halfway complete.
The wooden wheel, which measures about 3 feet in diameter, was remarkably well-preserved and even the hub of the wheel was still intact. Archaeologists are dating the wheel back to a time between 1,100 and 800 B.C.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England said in a released statement, “This remarkable but fragile wooden wheel is the earliest complete example ever found in Britain.” The researchers say they have also found a number of wooden objects that normally would not have survived this long, including platters, utensils and even clothing constructed from the fiber of lime trees. Some containers with remains of food, likely left behind during the fire, have also been uncovered.
This new wheel discovery is amazing, but it is not the oldest wheel from the Bronze Age that has been found in Britain. It is, however, the most complete specimen found. An earlier partial discovery of a smaller wheel at a nearby site dated back to about 1300 B.C., measuring at about 2.6 feet across.