UK's Oldest Complete Wheel Challenges What We Know About Bronze Age Technology

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

Researchers have only gone and dug up a massive, impeccably-preserved Bronze Age wheel in Cambridgeshire. The 3ft-diameter disc of old wood has been found at Must Farm -- dubbed the UK’s Pompeii, presumably in an attempt to raise its profile -- close to a collection of roundhouses that were discovered earlier this year.

The discovery has been described as ‘unprecedented’, as it challenges what we thought we knew about technology and transport at the time. It’s been dated to around 1,100 to 800 BC, making it the oldest complete wheel we’ve found in the UK. The oldest partial wheel found on our shores, meanwhile, has been dated to around 1,300 BC.

The spine of a horse was uncovered in the same area last month, triggering speculation that the wheel was part of a horse-drawn cart. However, it's far too early to jump to accurate conclusions. That does seem likely though. "This wheel poses a challenge to our understanding of both Late Bronze Age technological skill,” said Kasia Gdaniec, a senior archaeologist at Cambridgeshire county council.

Historic England and Forterra are jointly funding the £1.1m excavation, which we hope will help us learn about how people lived at the time. We've still got a few months to go, so there's still plenty of time to find the world's oldest Nokia 3310. [BBC, Guardian]