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Last Updated: Monday, 24 July 2006, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Iron Age villagers 'behind times'
Iron Age villagers living in west Somerset were 'behind the times' according to evidence unearthed by a team of archaeologists.

The team has been investigating the site at Maundown Water Treatment works near Wiveliscombe.

Six round houses dating back to 100 BC have been revealed by the dig.

A site of this age should show signs of square Roman houses but the existence of only round houses shows the village was behind the times in property style.

The first find on the site was a pottery funerary urn - now commonly referred to as a cremation urn - dating back 4,000 years.

Further pottery and metal work has also been uncovered.

Two round houses, one with its floor still preserved, which is very rare in a house of this age, and the remains of an iron hanging bowl which had probably fallen from a rafter and has lain on the floor for about 2,000 years were also revealed on the site.

There is also evidence of metal working taking place, including a furnace structure and pieces of metal slag, which suggests that this site had close links to a large Roman iron working settlement discovered at nearby Clatworthy Reservoir.

"This is a completely unexpected discovery of a Romano-British village and it is fascinating to catch this glimpse into Somerset's ancient past," said Steven Membery, Somerset County Council's Development Control Archaeologist.

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