Archaeological dig draws to a close at This Land’s Burwell housing development

An archaeological dig that has uncovered a significant Bronze age settlement at This Land’s Burwell site has come to an end.

Throughout the six months of excavations, the teams from This Land and Oxford Archaeology East have welcomed over 200 local visitors to the site during a number of open days, with visits from the local primary school, archaeology groups, Burwell Museum, Parish Councillors and Burwell residents.

Phase two of the excavation, which started at the beginning of October, found a number of shallow pits and a single cremation area. Having found posthole structures and larger storage pits in phase one, archaeologists were able to conclude that area one of the site was a complete settlement dating back to 1,100-800BC.

Image of a storage pit

The number of post holes indicate that there was a large community which used to live at the site, while the layout implies the timber structures would have been both round and rectangular in shape. The team also discovered small and medium sized pits which may well have been used to dispose of animal bones, broken pottery, unwanted food remains and other goods. Other pits were also used to store food and grains, keeping them cooler underground.

Louise Moan, Senior Project Manager at Oxford Archaeology East said: “Several of the structures are forming parallel rows of posts, which could either be fence lines or drying racks. Having opened the area to the north and the trenches to the east, we are confident that we have uncovered the settlement in its entirety. This has been a hugely rewarding dig and a fascinating insight into daily life 3000 years ago.”

The excavation of the settlement has been carried out by Oxford Archaeology East who are supported by Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) and appointed by specialist archaeological and heritage consultants Orion.

Commenting on the archaeological fieldwork, Brenda Kibblewhite, Head of Sales and Marketing of This Land said: “It has been fascinating to see these exciting new discoveries and we are delighted with the team’s work at this historically significant site in Burwell. The open days for the local community have been a great success and there are plans to provide an archival legacy of artefacts for future generations to enjoy.”

With the fieldwork now complete, there will be a programme of post-excavation assessment and analysis of the artefacts and environmental samples which will be recorded and followed by a full publication of the results. The information will be built into a story of the site and archived, and the artefacts will be donated to CCC and made available for public viewing.

Now that they have helped to conserve the past, This Land will commence the main infrastructure for the development of a community of 350 new homes, including affordable housing.

Millstone Park

Newmarket Road, Burwell, Cambridge, CB25 0BA

More information to follow.

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