POSTPONED Deposition interrupted – The Must Farm Pile dwellings

Wednesday 7 March 2018, 4.15PM

Speaker(s): Mark Knight, Cambridge Archaeological Unit

The taphonomic conditions that led to the remarkable preservation of the Must Farm Late Bronze Age stilted settlement were also its social context. The pile dwellings were constructed in a wet environment that stayed wet over time. On top of this, a catastrophic fire destroyed the settlement apparently unexpectedly, capturing its occupation early on and mid flow - things were still in use and largely complete. In archaeological terms, the bulk of the settlement’s contents were caught pre-deposition. Excavation revealed the pile dwellings contained a lot of stuff, all of which was contemporary. In comparison to normal, and so perhaps less well preserved Late Bronze Age settlement sites, the magnitude of materials would seem to be excessive and for that reason atypical. This presentation contextualises the Must Farm pile dwellings and in doing so follows Barrett’s clarion call in attempting to ‘…grasp how little, and how unrepresentative, is the sample of deposited material recovered archaeologically compared with that which was actually in circulation’.


Mark Knight directed the Must Farm excavations for the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, and specialises in prehistoric landscapes, as well as Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery. His interests include exploring later prehistoric contexts of inhabitation and mobility, and comprehending the lives of people in southern Britain between 3800-800 BC.

This event is postponed. The talk will be rescheduled for the summer term, with a new date announced shortly.

Location: This event is postponed.

Admission: This event is postponed.