Glastonbury Lake Village
Click on the titles at the foot of this page for the details of recent research
The fascinating story of the Glastonbury Lake Village can be viewed in the Tribunal, the 15th century merchant’s house in Glastonbury High Street, that also houses the Tourist Information Centre.
The Lake Village Museum presents an insight into everyday life in an Iron-Age settlement, dating from around 2000 years ago, when much of Somerset’s landscape was covered by marshy sea. Although these marshes have long since been artificially drained, the excellent preservative properties of the peaty wetland soils in the Glastonbury area left an archaeological legacy of international importance.
Why not visit the Museum and see the artifacts and the story of this settlement of Celts who lived at Glastonbury just before the Romans came?
Arthur Bulleid was a local medical student, son of the founder of the Glastonbury Antiquarian Society and an amateur archaeologist. Prompted by the results of work on lake villages in Switzerland, in 1888 he began to search for similar sites in the Somerset Levels and in 1892 he discovered a number of earth mounds near the road from Glastonbury to Godney, just north of Glastonbury.
From then until 1907, Bulleid and a small team of helpers methodically excavated the site and unearthed a fantastic collection of artifacts, including many items of pottery, wood, iron and bronze in a fine state of preservation.
Evidence of habitation was also found in the floors and hearths of dwellings and a defensive wooden palisade. Felled trees, reeds, bracken and clay brought from elsewhere had been used to create a man-made island of around 3½ acres in size, to which the settlers would have gained access by dug-out canoes and trackways of wood laid across the marshland.
Arthur Bulleid’s finds have allowed a clear picture to be formed of life in the Glastonbury area during the Iron-Age times. From small beginnings, in about 150 BC., the settlement grew to a maximum of 18 houses and about 200 people. The occupants were forced to leave in about 50 AD., due to rising water levels caused by a deterioration in the climate.
The Lake Village Museum welcomes visitors as individuals or in educational groups. The whole history and background to the Glastonbury Lake Village has been brought to life through exciting displays of the most important finds and through artists’ reconstructions. On view are the well preserved remains of a wooden dug-out canoe.
Glastonbury Tourist Information Centre and Lake Village Museum.
The Tribunal, 9 High Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, BAG 9DP.
Tel: 01458 832954/832949 FAX: 01458 832949
April to September
Friday and Saturday 10am—5.30pm
October to March
Friday and Saturday 10am—4.30pm Sunday closed
Also visit the reconstructed Lake Village huts at the Peat Moors Visitor Centre, Westhay. Tel: 01458 860697
Details of the internationally important iron age site and its artifacts and related research.
Lake Village Research