Fenland Survey

BookFenland Survey

Fenland Survey

An essay in landscape and persistence

Archaeological Reports


February 15th, 2014

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Archaeological surveys of the Fenland of eastern England were initiated in the 1930s after it became clear that centuries of drainage and cultivation had seriously reduced the archaeological deposits. These studies were among the first to take a multi-disciplinary approach to archaeological work, and continued with new work in the 1980s when intensive surveys were made of the wetlands of Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. During the eight years of the Fenland Survey (1981-88), fieldworkers walked 250,000 hectares and initiated palaeoenvironemental investigations allied to a radiocarbon dating programme. At the end of the survey, in 1989-90, the survey results were evaluated and a programme of field investigations undertaken. This volume is a synopsis of that work. It provides an introduction to the traditional Fenland, as perceived by both ancient and modern geographers, explorers, and historians, and a summary of the complex environmental history of the region. It is presented broadly according to the traditional archaeological periods - Mesolithic to medieval - but it also provides an overview of cultural continuity and of the response to changing conditions over 6000 years of history. It concludes with some reflections on the present condition of the Fenland and the response of the archaeological community to the threats posted by recent agricultural and other practices.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Front cover1
Half title2
Title page3
Map of survey area10
Chapter 1 – The face of places11
Chapter 2 – A basinful of complexity23
Chapter 3 – Establishing the wild tradition35
Chapter 4 – Foraging and farming48
Chapter 5 – Life and death on the edge75
Chapter 6 – Settlement against the waters102
Chapter 7 – The colonisation of new land115
Chapter 8 – Continuity and response132
Chapter 9 – Defence, communication, and reclamation142
Chapter 10 – Reflections161
Abbreviations and Bibliography169
Map of East Anglia181
Additional picture credits182