Tales from the Bronze Age
The researchers think the fire that destroyed the prehistoric settlement may have been started deliberately, possibly in a raid by hostile warriors. This image shows the excavation of the wooden palisade that was built around the stilt houses of the village, which likely defended the settlement from such raids. [Read full story about the Must Farm fire]
The researchers think the settlement was made up of eight or nine circular wooden houses and was home to several families. Four houses have been excavated — the remains of the others are thought to have been destroyed by quarrying at Must Farm before it was recognized as an archaeological site.
It is not known what caused the fire, but the researchers note that it's unlikely the villagers would have let their household fires get out of control, especially when their houses were built directly over the water.
This image shows one of the four excavated roundhouses at Must Farm. The rings of wall posts are visible and the collapsed roof timbers lie almost like spokes in a wheel.
Fleeing the village
Archaeologists have found an abundance of household objects left behind in the villagers' hurried flight, including clothes, jewelry, tools, weapons and boats. This image shows an array of household items, including several whole pots.
Evidence of trade
The foreign finds include beads of amber thought to be from the Baltic region, blue glass beads from Syria or Turkey, and these ceramic beads thought to be from continental Europe or the Middle East.
The researchers say they were used for clothing and other purposes, such as fish traps, and many pieces are very finely woven compared to Bronze Age fabrics found elsewhere.
The archaeologists also found several weapons and cutting tools, including bronze axes, sickles, razors and knives, as well as this bronze-tipped spear with its handle still attached.