Hanson dig up the past
A WIDE range of Bronze Age artifacts not normally found on prehistoric sites in Britain has been unearthed at Hanson’s Must Farm Quarry at Whittlesey, near Peterborough.
The ancient objects dating back 3,000 years were buried up to 6m below ground level. Preserved by the waterlogged conditions of the Fens, the artifacts discovered include whole pots holding food, wooden containers and hoards of Bronze Age weapons. Elaborate textiles made from plant fibres and glass beads were also unearthed, along with a well-preserved timber platform and timber-piled buildings.
The extensive excavations were initiated following further extraction for brick making at the clay pit. Hanson had agreed to leave the timber platform out of the mineral extraction area and a protective mound (or bund) was created to shield the objects from the quarry.
Other significant finds in the quarry carried out by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU) include: burial mounds; cobbled tracks; riverside hards; eel traps; fish weirs. David Gibson, project manager for CAU, commented: ‘The wicker-work structures are in such perfect condition they appear as though they were made yesterday.’
The excavation and preservation works are being managed by SLR Consulting. Working closely with Hanson, the environmental firm developed a management plan to conserve the remains for future generations, including testing of the soil and water levels designed to alert Hanson staff to any changes in the environment that could damage the finds.
Tim Malim, head of the SLR Consulting heritage team, said: ‘The Government introduced new policies for protecting archaeology earlier this year and Hanson’s approach to preserving these remains is an outstanding example of good practice in delivering this new policy on Planning for the Historic Environment.’