This is 3,000 years old. (Photo: Must Farm Archaeology)

The ball of yarn above is 3,000 years old. For much of its existence, it has been buried underground, in boggy land, along with the rest of the remains of three small houses built millennia ago, near what’s now Cambridge, England.

Ever since archaeologists discovered Must Farm, which has been called Britain’s Pompeii, they have been uncovering small clues as to what life was like for the families that lived here. This ball of yarn is one of the most delicate finds–extraordinary in its survival over all these years.

In the week since the yarn was first found, the team has carefully cleaned it up. “Excavating and cleaning artifact this fragile is not easy but seeing them up close like this really shows how remarkable these finds are,” the team wrote on their Facebook page

It’s easy to imagine how one wrong touch could cause the small ball, just over 1 cm in size, to break apart into nothing.