Community Stories

Forterra funding uncovers remarkable bronze age settlement

We are delighted to have been involved in the uncovering and documenting of Must Farm, an incredibly well-preserved bronze age settlement found close to our Kings Dyke clay quarry in Peterborough.

© Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU), courtesy of Dave Webb

The Must Farm site is located between modern-day Peterborough and Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire and sits astride a prehistoric watercourse inside the Flag Fen basin.

Forterra has been involved in this National Heritage Protection Commissions Programme since it commenced in 2015, contributing over half a million pounds towards the excavation of Must Farm.

The remainder of the major £1.1 million excavation project was funded by Historic England and carried out by Cambridge Archaeological Unit of the University of Cambridge. They uncovered the remains of 200 wooden artefacts, over 150 fibre and textile items, 128 pottery vessels and more than 90 pieces of metalwork, which were removed for recording and analysis and to decide on the future preservation of the site.

This project follows a series of discoveries of bronze age and prehistoric artefacts in the area, including a plesiosaur reptile found in Forterra’s Kings Dyke clay quarry in 2014.

Tim Darling, Forterra’s Head of Land and Mineral Resources, said “The realisation of the Must Farm settlement immediately adjacent to our modern world of mechanisation and advanced technology is absolutely amazing. The juxtaposition of bronze age discoveries positioned only metres from our deep Oxford Clay quarry and the busy A605 road has been incredible to see and a privilege to support. The books and exhibition really help to bring this remarkable 3,000-year-old story to life, and Forterra feel truly honoured to have supported the latest chapter of Must Farm.”

The discoveries have been recorded in a series of books, titled “Must Farm pile-dwelling settlement: Volume 1 – Landscape, architecture and occupation” and “Volume 2 – Specialist reports”, published by the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

From April, there will be an opportunity to see some of the amazingly preserved and unique objects that have been uncovered. “Introducing Must Farm, a Bronze Age Settlement” is a free to visit exhibition at Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery, that will be open to the public from 27th April to 28th September 2024.

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