Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Must Farm pile-dwelling settlement

  • Mark Knight (a1), Rachel Ballantyne (a2), Iona Robinson Zeki (a1) and David Gibson (a1)


The Must Farm pile-dwelling site is an extraordinarily well-preserved Late Bronze Age settlement in Cambridgeshire, UK. The authors present the site's contextual setting, from its construction, occupation and subsequent destruction by fire in relatively quick succession. A slow-flowing watercourse beneath the pile-dwellings provided a benign burial environment for preserving the debris of construction, use and collapse, while the catastrophic manner of destruction introduced a definitive timeframe. The scale of its occupation speaks to the site's exceptional nature, enabling the authors to deduce the everyday flow and use of things in a prehistoric domestic setting.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The Must Farm pile-dwelling settlement
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The Must Farm pile-dwelling settlement
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The Must Farm pile-dwelling settlement
      Available formats


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence (Email:


Hide All
Barrett, J.C. 1989. Food, gender and metal: questions of social reproduction, in Sørensen, M.L.S. & Thomas, R. (ed.) From bronze to iron: the Bronze Age–Iron Age transition in Europe (British Archaeological Reports International series 483): 304–20. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.
Barrett, J.C. 2012. Are models of prestige goods economies and conspicuous consumption applicable to the archaeology of the bronze to iron transition in Britain?, in Jones, A.M., Pollard, J., Allen, M.J. & Gardiner, J. (ed.) Image, memory and monumentality: archaeological engagements with the material world (Prehistoric Society Research Paper 5): 617. Oxford: Oxbow.
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2017. OxCal v.4.3.2. Available at: (accessed 28 March 2019).
Cromarty, A.M., Barclay, A., Lambrick, G. & Robinson, M.. 2006. Late Bronze Age ritual and habitation on a Thames eyot at Whitecross Farm, Wallingford: the archaeology of the Wallingford Bypass 1986–92 (Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph 22). Oxford: Oxford University School for Archaeology.
Evans, C. 1989. Perishables and worldly goods—artifact decoration and classification in the light of wetlands research. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 8: 179201.
Evans, C., Beadsmoore, E., Brudenell, M. & Lucas, G.. 2009. Fengate revisited, further Fen-Edge excavations, Bronze Age fieldsystems and settlement and the Wyman Abbott/Leeds Archives. Cambridge: Cambridge Archaeological Unit.
French, C.A.I. 2003. Geoarchaeology in action: studies in soil micromorphology and landscape evolution. London: Routledge.
Gibson, D.J., Knight, M. & Allen, M.. 2010. The Must Farm timber alignments: an archaeological and environmental evaluation. Post-excavation assessment (volumes 1 & 2) (CAU Report 935). Cambridge: Cambridge Archaeological Unit.
Glass, N. 2016. History made: in an astonishing Bronze Age discovery a 3000-year-old community has been unearthed. CNN, 29 July 2016. Available at: (accessed 28 March 2019).
Gray, R. 2016. Was ‘Pompeii of the Fens’ destroyed in a raid? Village was newly built when it was burnt to ground by Bronze Age warriors. Mail Online, 27 July 2016. Available at: (accessed 28 March 2019).
Harding, D.W., Blake, I.M. & Reynolds, P.J.. 1993. An Iron Age settlement in Dorset: excavation and reconstruction (University of Edinburgh, Department of Archaeology Monograph 1). Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.
Jacomet, S., Leuzinger, U. & Schibler, J.. 2004. Die jungsteinzeitliche Seeufersiedlung Arbon Bleiche 3: Umwelt und Wirtschaft (Archäologie im Thurgau 12). Frauenfeld: Departement für Erziehung und Kultur des Kantons Thurgau.
Kenward, H.K. & Tipper, J.. 2008. Insect invaders of reconstructed Anglo-Saxon houses at West Stow, Suffolk, England. Environmental Archaeology 13: 5157.
Knight, M. 2009. Excavating a Bronze Age timber platform at Must Farm, Whittlesey, near Peterborough. Past 63: 14.
Knight, M. & Brudenell, M.. In press. Pattern & process: landscape prehistories from Whittlesey Brick Pit—the King's Dyke and Bradley Fen excavations 1998–2004. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.
Küster, H. 2018. Food, foodways, and subsistence, in Haselgrove, C., Rebay-Salisbury, K. & Wells, P.S. (ed.) The Oxford handbook of the European Iron Age. Oxford: Oxford Handbooks Online. Available at: (accessed 28 March 2019).
Malim, T., Morgan, D. & Panter, I.. 2015. Suspended preservation: particular preservation conditions within the Must Farm-Flag Fen Bronze Age landscape. Quaternary International 368: 1930.
Needham, S.P. 1991. Excavation and salvage at Runnymede Bridge, 1978: the Late Bronze Age waterfront site. London: British Museum.
Pryor, F. 2001. The Flag Fen Basin: archaeology and environment of a Fenland landscape. Swindon: English Heritage.
Reimer, P.J. et al. 2013. IntCal13 and Marine13 radiocarbon age calibration curves 0–50 000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55: 1869–87.
Robinson, I., Knight, M. & Murrell, K.. 2015. Must Farm palaeochannel investigations 2009–2012. Post-excavation assessment (CAU Report 1266). Cambridge: Cambridge Archaeological Unit.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed