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Glastonbury

7 6 GLAsTONbURy LAke VILLAGe dwellings in the mists Marshland settlements thrived in the Avalon Marshes near Glastonbury during the Iron Age from the 5th to 1st century Bc. they are renowned for the remarkable preservation of their timbers, wooden utensils, and woven basketry in the peat bogs. Many of the remains were found by peat cutters but the first major settlement was discovered by Arthur Bulleid in 1892 and named Glastonbury Lake Village. An artificial island built on felled trees with a wooden palisade, it was home to roughly 80 reedroofed circular huts, each about 18 to 28 ft in diameter with a central hearth and floorboards bedded on clay. It is thought that no more than 14 huts were inhabited at any time from 250 to 50 Bc. Finds in the peat have included dugout canoes, ladders, painted pottery drawing by Arthur Bulleid below, bronze bowls, buckets, brooches, saws and chisels. Living so close to the water in damp and muddy conditions must have led to regular flooding and illnesses which might have been avoided by building on the islands and hills nearby. But such dwellings were secure from enemies and the swamp provided fish, waterbirds and edible plants and trading boats could moor here too. Above Glass beads found at Meare and a reconstructed necklace drawing by Mike Rouillard. Below A 1911 suggestive painting by A. Forestier of the Glastonbury Lake Village. The village was not created in a lake as the name implies but at the edge of a swamp of reed, sedge and open water between Glastonbury and Godney. There is little to see there now or at other Iron Age marsh settlements that were found near Meare. However, at nearby Westhay, the Peat Moors Visitor Centre has a display of the Lake Village discoveries, a reconstructed Iron Age roundhouse and a wetland walkway.
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