3,000 years ago the site, which lies on the outskirts of Peterborough along a tributary of the Nene river, was home to settlement of roundhouses built on stilts over the river. At some point, a devastating fire swept through the village and its inhabitants abandoned it, leaving behind most of their belongings. The village then collapsed and sank into the river where it was perfectly preserved by layers of mud and silt, along with all that it contained.
"This site is one continuing surprise, but if you had asked me, a perfectly preserved wheel is the last thing I would have expected to find," said site director Mark Knight, a member of Cambridge University's archaeology department. "On this site, objects never seen anywhere else tend to turn up in multiples, so it's certainly not impossible we'll go on to find another even better wheel." The wheel was found lying atop a massive floor timber still attached to its hub. Knight believes that it may have been hanging on a wall at the time of the fire, and was probably brought to where it was found for repair.
"My hunch is that 3,000 years ago there was a cart parked up on the dry land with a wheel missing," Knight told The Guardian. Despite being scorched by fire and pierced by a geologist's core sampler sometime in the 20th century, the wheel is amazingly well preserved, and gives archaeologists a better look at Bronze Age transportation technology.