October 2021: Must Farm

We were, at last, able to welcome, from Glasgow, Dr Susanna Harris to speak about the ten years of work by the Archaeology Department of Glasgow University on the Must Farm textiles.  The Must Farm site is located on the Fens not far from Peterborough but is now closed.

The settlement was built on stilts over a waterway, log boats and fishing hurdles have been discovered in the silt which has preserved the remains.  The houses had burned down but the roof timbers arranged in a circular fashion were discovered.





Dendrochronology on the timbers reveals the date of the settlement to be about 850 BC recognised as late Bronze/early Iron Age.  Nests of pots, unfired ceramics, beads, weapons, tools, whorls for spindles and weaving weights were discovered.  The most significant textile finds, preserved by the acidic nature of the silt were plant based examples of bast such as flax and lime tree fibres.  These appeared as spools and balls of yarn and textiles created buy knotting, weaving and twining.

With the aid of electron microscopy and CAT scanning archaeologists were able to determine, as well as the nature of the material, the thread count of the fine quality fabrics, (16-25 threads/cm) and the diameter of the threads (0.1-0.3mm) and the internal structure of bundles and parcels of thread.

Although the site is now permanently closed there is a reconstruction of the houses at Flag Fen Archaeological Park, artefacts in Peterborough Museum and plentiful information to be reached via Google.  Good illustrations here: http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/must-farm-bronze-age-settlement-04031.html

Many thanks to Dr. Harris for her most interesting account and for taking the trouble to travel from Glasgow to talk to us.  The event was planned for last year but…so many thanks also to Ann for her perseverance in ensuring that the talk eventually took place!

Liz has sent links for Susanna’s on-line talks in the Guild Notes, reproduced here:

https://ww.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrBbfg7zfPQ  – Must Farm Bronze Age Textiles – Introduction

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYPVdc0SpXo Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m7mnNv0DYk Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNLa_zlosRY Part 3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsFcPi7YwvQ  Part 4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXHz2iEfqWc Part 5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCMp_EBtTN0 Part 6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVRBLq6YctU Part 7