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Abandoned medieval village is uncovered near Cambridge alongside an archaeological treasure trove
From:Daily Mail  Writer:Harry Pettit  Date:2018-04-17
An abandoned medieval village has been uncovered by workers upgrading a stretch of road near Cambridge.

The remains of 12 buildings cover an area of six hectares, and the entire layout of the settlement is discernible despite the fact it was deserted more than 1,800 years ago.

Earlier remains of up to 40 Anglo Saxon timber buildings are also identifiable, with alleys winding between houses, workshops and agricultural structures.


An abandoned medieval village has been uncovered by workers upgrading a stretch of road near Cambridge. The remains of 12 buildings cover an area of six hectares (pictured), and the entire layout of the settlement is discernible despite the fact it was deserted more than 1,800 years ago 
 
The village is thought to have been occupied from the eighth to the 12th centuries, according to a team of almost 250 archaeologists working on the site.

Experts led by the Museum of London Archaeology Headland Infrastructure have dug more than 40 excavation sites along a stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon, and expect to complete work by summer.

Artefacts uncovered during the project include a rare Anglo Saxon bone flute from the fifth to ninth century, an ornate Roman jet pendant depicting the head of Medusa, and a Middle Iron Age timber ladder.

They believe their finds have enabled a better understanding of how the Cambridgeshire landscape was used over 6,000 years of occupation.


Experts led by the Museum of London Archaeology Headland Infrastructure have dug more than 40 excavation sites along a stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon, and expect to complete work by summer. Artefacts uncovered during the project include a rare Anglo Saxon bone flute from the fifth to ninth century (pictured) 
 
Their other discoveries include a Roman trade distribution centre which would have played a pivotal part in the region's supply chain, which was once linked to the surrounding farmsteads by trackways as well as the main Roman road between Cambridge and Godmanchester.

The discovery of artefacts at the site relating to the Roman army indicates that this trade was controlled centrally.

Three prehistoric henge monuments, which are likely to have been a place for ceremonial gatherings and measure up to 50 metres (164 ft) in diameter, have also been found.

Other monuments include 40 Roman industrial pottery kilns along Roman roads, seven prehistoric burial grounds, eight Iron Age to Roman supply farms, two post-medieval brick kilns and three Saxon settlement sites.


Scientists believe their finds have enabled a better understanding of how the Cambridgeshire landscape was used over 6,000 years of occupation. Pictured is an ornate Roman jet pendant depicting the head of Medusa found during the project 

The team, working with Highways England’s £1.5 billion ($2.1 billion) scheme to improve a 21-mile (34km) section of the A14, is investigating 350 hectares of archaeology - equivalent to 800 small football pitches.

Dr Steve Sherlock, archaeology lead for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon project for Highways England, said: 'The archive of finds, samples and original records will be stored so that the data and knowledge is preserved for this and future generations.'


Earlier remains of up to 40 Anglo Saxon timber buildings (pictured) are also identifiable, with alleys winding between houses, workshops and agricultural structures 
 
Kasia Gdaniec, senior archaeologist for Cambridgeshire County Council, said the archaeology programme had exposed an 'astonishing array of remarkable new sites that reveal the previously unknown character of ancient settlement across the western Cambridgeshire clay plain'.

She said: 'The fast-paced archaeological excavations have been extremely challenging, especially during this relentlessly wet winter, but a very large, hardy team of British and international archaeologists successfully completed sites in advance of the road crews taking over to build the road structures.


Their other discoveries include a Roman trade distribution centre which would have played a pivotal part in the region's supply chain, which was once linked to the surrounding farmsteads by trackways as well as the main Roman road between Cambridge and Godmanchester. Pictured is a medieval skeleton found during excavations 

'There is still more to do, but we want to share the archaeologists' excitement over what they are finding with the wider public and hope that they will enjoy the ongoing displays and interpretation that will be a legacy of this national infrastructure project.'


 
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