Evidence of Iron Age festival discovered

Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe was a large Iron Age banqueting pit during excavation on the A428 proposed improvements

Archaeologists have found evidence of a festival dating back more than 2,000 years at a road improvement project site.

Excavations have found pottery and animal bones indicating evidence of a communal party area as part of proposed work on the A428 between Black Cat roundabout in Bedfordshire and Caxton Gibbet in Cambridgeshire.

Experts believe the findings could highlight changes in diet and gift giving.

Earlier this year, experts also found evidence of Roman-era brewing.

During the excavation, the team from the Museum of London Archeology (MOLA) discovered a pit filled with animal bones, pottery and burnt stones.

They believe it showed evidence of a large fire around which Iron Age communities would have gathered for festivals, between 800 BC and AD 43

Specialists will now analyze bones, pottery and other evidence such as burnt grain to narrow down the time frame and learn more about the holidays.

Pottery discovered at the site

The pottery was found in what is believed to be a feast pit for communal gatherings

Towards the end of the Iron Age, new ingredients such as olives and coriander began to be imported, the team said.

Archaeologists believe that analyzing grains could reveal how diets have changed.

They also hope the pottery will provide insight into the trade or gift exchanges across the Channel.

Gary Brogan, MOLA project director, said: “The excavations of the A428 are a tremendous opportunity, we are seeing the big picture of life in the past across the region.

“Discovering an Iron Age festival, and possible evidence of early Roman brewing, is transforming our understanding of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire’s past communities, from what they ate and drank, to how they could trade both locally than through the Roman Empire.”

Lorraine Bennetts, senior project manager at National Highways, described the finds as “fascinating discoveries”.

“It has been wonderful to see how the improvements to the A428 are revealing the stories of the people who lived in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire thousands of years ago, which we hope will inspire and intrigue local residents in the present day,” he said.

“The discovery of this Iron Age feast is just the beginning and we look forward to sharing more information as the excavation progresses.”

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