Bronze Age settlement unearthed in Huntingdonshire village

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.


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“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.”

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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.”

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