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Glastonbury Lake Village

Somerset Levels courtesy Robert Purvis Geograph British Isles In March 1892 amateur archaeologist Arthur Bulleid noticed a field of small mounds on the Somerset levels. An investigation of the wetlands turned up pottery fragments, pieces of bone, charcoal, and a whetstone. Excavations uncovered floors and hearths of dwellings, more pottery and debris, and preserved timber. Other discoveries were wooden tubs, ladles, handles for tools, wheel hubs and spokes, mallets, and basket fragments. A canoe was unearthed nearby. More objects excavated included needles, hammer heads, combs, bronze brooches, rings, bone and glass beads, a bronze mirror, and spindles and other weaving implements.

Lake Village site courtesy Sharon Loxton Geograph British Isles A 3.5 acre site was uncovered by 1907. It was surrounded by a wooden palisade, felled willows and alders, reeds, stone, clay and bracken—all brought from outside the area to form a man-made island mostly surrounded by water.

89 mounds were eventually excavated and included dwellings, stables, workshops, and cooking areas. The dwellings, occupied by farmers who reared sheep and cattle, were round with thatched roofs and approximately 5.5 to 8.5 metres in diameter. The walls of the dwellings were formed with wattle and daub and the floors were of clay. Crops grown by the farmers were barley, rye, wheat, and beans. Other food resources in the area included waterfowl, deer, and fruits.

Glastonbury Old Tribunal Building by Barbara Ballard The site was abandoned early in the first century AD due to increased flooding and climate changes. The finds are displayed in the Glastonbury Tribunal, a late medieval mostly 15th century house. Above the door are the royal arms. The lower front has linen-fold panelling and in the back room is Elizabethan plasterwork. Upstairs in the building is a 15th century roof.

Visitor Information

Glastonbury Tourist Information Centre
9 High St
Tel. 0 1458 832 954
Web: Glastonbury Tourist Information Centre

Glastonbury Lake Village Museum
9 High St
Glastonbury, Somerset
Tel. 0 1458 832 954
Open: April-Sep, Mon-Thu and Sun, 10am-5pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-5.30pm; Oct-March, Mon-Thu, 10am-4pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-4.30pm
Web: Glastonbury Antiquarian Society

Photo by Barbara Ballard and courtesy Geograph British Isles as follows:
Glastonbury Lake village site courtesy Sharon Loxton;
Somerset levels by Robert Purvis.





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