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Must Farm, Whittlesesy 2011-2012. Palaeochannel Investigations, Interim Statement


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Murrell, Kerry 

Abstract

On behalf of Hanson UK, a further programme of excavation and recording was undertaken within the palaeochannel at Must Farm quarry prior to mineral extraction. Some 200m (approximately 1.0 Hectare) of the fresh water channel was investigated in detail between June 2011 and October 2012 together with the roddon and the underlying sequence of earlier channels and old former surfaces through which it carved. The palaeochannel was stripped under strictly controlled conditions in order to best facilitate the identification of potential archaeological materials within. In addition, baulks were strategically left in place to allow for the comparison of deposition sequence along the length of the channel, these were later removed as the final stage of the process. The excavation exposed not only a significant quantity of later prehistoric wooden structures including fish traps, weirs, and post alignments, but also eight well preserved later Bronze Age/ Early Iron Age logboats, each unique in form. The significance of these logboats lies not only in their collection as a group of artefacts, but in the quality of the contextual detail in which they were discovered. In addition, a number of artefacts of both organic and non-organic material were uncovered demonstrating the extent of exploitation within and more importantly throughout the channel's existence. This is reflected in the collection of metalwork which also spans approximately 1200 years and includes bronze swords, daggers, rings, rapiers, a razor, a pin, a brooch and iron swords still riveted to their wooden handles.

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Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge

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