A VILLAGE in west Huntingdonshire has been inhabited more or less continuously for 3,000 years, archaeologists have discovered.

A VILLAGE in west Huntingdonshire has been inhabited more or less continuously for 3,000 years, archaeologists have discovered.

Evidence of the three millennia-old settlement came to light as a result of a routine dig before four new homes are built by Little Stukeley-based SD Construction on a site in Thrapston Road, near Spaldwick church.

Excavation director Susan Clelland, from the charity Wessex Archaeology Limited, explained: "Before we started work there was little evidence of pre-historic settlement in the area. We now know that people have been living and working in Spaldwick since the Bronze Age."

The excavators discovered a series of inter-cutting ditches and pits that have helped shed light on the origins of the village in the Bronze Age. By the Iron Age (approximately 2,500 years ago) a ditch surrounded the settlement. By this stage people were harvesting crops from adjacent fields, and mixed deciduous woodland was probably used for grazing animals such as pigs, she said.

"By the late Roman period (approximately 1,800 years ago) the small-scale fields were expanded into much larger fields as enterprising landowners sought to maximise their investment.

"The focus of the village probably shifted during this period to a similar pattern visible today, with the site on the outskirts of the modern village."

She added that, during the mediaeval period (approximately 1,000 years ago), the site was on the edge of the current settlement, and a cluster of ovens found showed that it was used for industrial activity.

Finds from the site include domestic waste usually associated with settlement, such as pottery and animal bones, and a well-preserved bone comb was also discovered.

Brendon Wilkins, project manager for Wessex Archaeology, said: "Just as Spaldwick is an attractive place to settle today, it was also attractive to people from the pre-historic onwards. The excavation has been an excellent opportunity to investigate why people choose to live here and how those reasons changed over generations."