Discovery of 3,000-year-old wheel spurs rethink of ancient Britain

The discovery of a largely intact, 3,000-year-old wheel at a site dubbed Britain's Pompeii has prompted a reassessment of Bronze Age technology, archaeologists and historians said on Friday.

The 1-metre diameter wooden wheel was found in fenland at the Must Farm site near Peterborough in eastern England, where Bronze Age wooden roundhouses are believed to have plunged into a river after a fire, said the government-backed Historic England, which funds the excavation of the site.

The discovery of the first complete example of a wheel of this age "poses challenges to our understanding of the Late Bronze Age in terms of the technology available 3,000 years ago," it said.

"Among the wealth of other fabulous artefacts and the new structural remains of roundhouses built over this river channel, this site continues to amaze and astonish us with its insight into prehistoric life, the latest being the discovery of this wooden wheel," said archaeologist Kasia Gdaniec.

"This remarkable but fragile wooden wheel is the earliest complete example ever found in Britain," said Duncan Wilson, Historic England's chief executive.

"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," Wilson said.

The Must Farm site, known as "Peterborough's Pompeii," contains the remains of roundhouses that are believed to be the best preserved Bronze Age dwellings found in Britain.

"Other exciting finds include a wooden platter, small wooden box and rare small bowls and jars with food remains inside, as well as exceptional textiles and Bronze Age tools," Historic England said.

Last update: Fri, 19/02/2016 - 14:58

More from Science & Tech

Hundreds of South Koreans sue Samsung over Galaxy Note7: report

Hundreds of South Korean Galaxy Note7 owners filed a joint lawsuit Monday against Samsung seeking compensation after...

Swedish court grounds camera-equipped drones

A Swedish court ruling stating that drones equipped with cameras should fall under legislation regulating...

Lander crash has not endangered Mars mission, Russian experts say

The Russian-European ExoMars space mission remains on track despite the Mars lander Schiaparelli's crash on...

Mars lander may have "exploded on impact," European Space Agency says

The European Space Agency's Schiaparelli Mars lander may have "exploded on impact" after a failed descent to the...

Mars orbiter a success, but fate of lander uncertain after touchdown

The orbiter in a joint European and Russian mission to Mars has been a complete success, but it is not known if the...