A 3,000-Year-Old Wheel Has Been Discovered in the UK
In the scheme of things, the automobile is still a relatively new invention; the first cars emerged just before the turn of the 20th century. But the wheel? That’s a much older invention, and researchers in England recently unearthed one very ancient example. Estimated to date from between 1,100 and 800 B.C., this 3,000-year-old wheel was discovered by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit at the Must Farm archaeological site, near Peterborough, England. Measuring in at over three feet in diameter, it’s said to be the largest and best preserved Bronze Age wheel found in Britain to date, and amazingly it still contains its wooden hub. The discovery follows a string of impressive artifacts uncovered at the site, but it raises more questions about how much technology these ancient wetland dwellers had. RELATED: The Long-Lost Mustang Boss 302 Concept Has Finally Been Found
The site, which once contained wooden stilt houses built into the side of a river, has been nicknamed “Peterborough’s Pompeii” due to its unique history and location. 3,000 years ago a fire destroyed the settlement and a number of the houses were consumed by the slow moving river, which then preserved the remains in its silty waters. In addition to the discovery of these homes, in 2011 eight log boats were recovered at the site followed more recently by wooden platters, bowls, and even primitive jars with food remains still inside.
David Gibson, Archaeological Manager at the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, said in a statement, “the discovery of the wheel demonstrates that the inhabitants of this watery landscape had links to the dry land beyond the river.”
While the artifact is the UK’s best preserved Bronze Age wheel, it isn’t the only one. The oldest Bronze Age wheel, which dates back to 1,300 B.C., was discovered at the neighboring Flag Fen archaeology park, though it was found incomplete.
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The discovery is part of an ongoing £1.1 million ($1.6 million) project to excavate 1,100 square meters of the site, of which half is said to have been fully excavated.
“Among the wealth of other fabulous artifacts and the new structural remains of round houses built over this river channel, this site continues to amaze and astonish us with its insight into prehistoric life,” said Kasia Gdaniec, Senior Archaeologist for Cambridgeshire County Council.
Photo Credit: Dave Webb, Cambridge Archaeological Unit
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