Major Neolithic and Iron Age discoveries at Ouse Washes dig

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 September 2015

The Bulwark, the main Ouse palaeochannel trench.

The Bulwark, the main Ouse palaeochannel trench.

Archant

Neolithic (3500-2800BC) and Iron Age (100BC-50AD) settlements have been discovered in an Ouse Washes dig.

The Cambridge Archaeological Unit of the University of Cambridge made major discoveries during public excavations at Earith Bulwark and Fen Drayton Lakes reserve.

The works took place as part of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP), a county-wide project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The first excavation took place at the Civil War fort, Earith Bulwark, nestled between the Ouse Washes’ barrier banks. Three trenches were dug which revealed prehistoric soils. Both earlier Neolithic and Iron Age settlements were encountered. Completely unknown up until now, these rank as major discoveries and significantly add to the area’s long-term land-use mapping.

The second dig, undertaken with fellow OWLP partners, the RSPB, took place at their Fen Drayton Lakes reserve.

Building on previous work done by Cambridge Archaeological Unit at the lakes in advance of quarrying, this excavation focussed on the Roman Villa onsite.

In addition to quantities of Late Roman pottery and animal bone (all the deposits being sieved to maximise bird bone retrieval), metalwork, bathhouse-type tiles and large stone-packed postholes were recovered.

It is hoped in the future to be able to return to this important site and reveal more of its complex plan.

Films from both excavations will shortly be available on YouTube alongside the film Cambridge Archaeological Unit recently shot at this year’s OuseFest. The unit restaged the nineteenth century flat-earth trials at Denver Sluice.

To find out more about the Cambridge Archaeological Unit go to http://www-cau.arch.cam.ac.uk/.

To find out more about the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership and how you can get involved, go to http://www.ousewashes.org.uk, or find them on Twitter and Facebook.

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