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Department of Archaeology


Must Farm Project

The Must Farm project is the first landscape scale archaeological investigation of deep Fenland, with its complex geological history (from wet to dry and back again). The project’s exploration of deeply buried deposits is transforming our understanding of prehistoric life and revealing a level of preservation previously only dreamt about.

Archaeologists made remarkable discoveries about everyday life in the Bronze Age during their 10-month excavation of 3,000-year-old circular wooden houses at Must Farm in Cambridgeshire. Believed to be the best-preserved Bronze Age dwellings ever found in Britain, the houses were destroyed by a fire that caused the settlement, which was built on stilts as part of an extensive pile-dwelling, to collapse into the shallow river beneath. The soft river silt encapsulated the remains of the charred dwellings and their contents, which survive in extraordinary detail.

The range and quality of the many finds have astonished members of Cambridge Archaeological Unit and colleagues at Cambridge’s Department of Archaeology. The fire is thought to have happened soon after the construction of the roundhouses.

Now the excavation is coming to an end, archaeologists are able to build a near complete picture of domestic life in a Bronze Age house: where activities happened, what the roof was made of, what people were wearing, and how their clothes were produced. The materials found provide evidence of farming, crafts and building technologies.

Several undergraduates on Cambridge’s archaeology course have had the chance to assist with the dig, working alongside Cambridge Archaeological Unit to gain first-hand experience of a water-logged site.

The excavation was funded by Historic England and building products supplier Forterra

Please visit the external project website for more information.




Historic England

Project Lead

Project Tags

Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Periods of interest: 
Copper/Bronze Age
Geographical areas: 
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Biomolecular Archaeology
Artefact Analysis & Technology
Field Methods
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies
Archaeological Science
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