Cambridgeshire

A14 upgrade: Bronze Age pottery found near Cambridge

A14 pottery Image copyright MOLA Headland/Highways England
Image caption This 'Sunday best' Roman bowl is decorated with a male figure fighting a lion

A Roman bowl and an intact Bronze Age urn are among "hugely significant" artefacts found during work to upgrade the A14.

A team of 250 archaeologists have been on site as part of Highways England's £1.5bn scheme to improve the stretch between Cambridge and Huntingdon.

More than four tonnes of pottery fragments have been unearthed since work began two years ago.

Experts said some of the pottery was of the "highest quality".

Teams led by the MOLA Headland Infrastructure have dug more than 40 separate excavation areas covering an area of 350 hectares (3.5 sq km).

The entire area was the site of a medieval village and a Roman trade distribution centre, archaeologists found.

Among the pieces recovered are a Samianware Roman bowl, depicting a male figure fighting a lion, which would have been imported from France - giving an insight into the wealth, status and travels of the people who lived here.

Image copyright MOLA Headland/Highways England
Image caption A fully intact Bronze Age collared funeral urn was found during the A14 work
Image copyright Highways England
Image caption Work to improve the A14 between Cambridge had Huntingdon is ongoing

"We know there is quite dense archaeology in Cambridgeshire, but there is a particular concentration near Huntingdon where we are finding some of the highest quality pottery," said Dr Sutton.

"The Roman bowl was the equivalent of their Sunday best china. It is a crazy assemblage in terms of size and quality."

He said it was not uncommon to find cemeteries, but the full Bronze Age collared urn - thought to be 3,000-4,000 years old - was especially important, and that "someone had put a lot of time and effort into making it".

Image copyright MOLA Headland/Highways England
Image caption An Iron Age bowl was found intact and includes small fragments of white flint
Image copyright Highways England
Image caption Archaeologists from MOLA Headland Infrastructure worked on the excavation

The items will be sorted and recorded by a 10-strong team of pottery specialists across the country over the next year.

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