The Flag Fen Basin

BookThe Flag Fen Basin

The Flag Fen Basin

Archaeology and environment of a Fenland landscape

English Heritage


February 15th, 2013

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The Flag Fen Basin has been the subject of nearly continuous archaeological research since about 1900. Most of the archaeological research described in this book took place in response to building development during the past 30 years. Between 1971 and 1978 the Fengate Project revealed two Bronze Age ditched field systems laid out for the management of large numbers of livestock. At the centre of one field system, a complex pattern of droveways, yards, and paddocks has been interpreted as a communal 'marketplace' for livestock exchange and regular social gatherings. A major droveway linked this area to an enigmatic wooden platform and to a post alignment, which runs for more than a kilometre across the wetland. While there is no doubt that these structures were a route across wet ground, it is still not fully understood why the Bronze Age people who built them deposited 'offerings' of spears, daggers, swords, and jewellery into the associated lake. Nevertheless, it is believed that religious rituals were involved. The excellent conditions of preservtion have enabled the excavators to undertake detailed examinations of the woodworking and associated archaeological remains, and to discuss the nature of the remains, their ritual singificance, and the possible social implications. The report also includes a detailed summary of recent commercial excavations at Fengate. In particular, this research sheds new light on the Neolithic landscape, on the Iron Age and Roman landscapes, and on the changing environmental conditions since the earlier Neolithic.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Front cover1
Half title2
Title page4
Chapter 1 – Introduction: The Flag Fen Basin24
Chapter 2 – Recent research in south Fengate40
Chapter 3 – Recent research in central and north Fengate60
Chapter 4 – The Power Station excavations, 198975
Chapter 5 – Excavation and survey at Northey, 1982-9497
Chapter 6 – Excavations at Flag Fen, 1982-95104
Chapter 7 – The wood190
Chapter 8 – Tree-ring studies252
Chapter 9 – Prehistoric pottery from the Power Station and Flag Fen272
Chapter 10 – Metalwork278
Chapter 11 – Finds of flint, stone, and shale341
Chapter 12 – Non-human and human mammalian bone remains from the Flag Fen platform and Power Station post alignment353
Chapter 13 – Flag Fen: the vegetation and environment374
Chapter 14 – Soils and sediments: the Flag Fen environs survey405
Chapter 15 – Late Bronze Age Coleoptera from Flag Fen407
Chapter 16 – Radiocarbon and absolute chronology413
Chapter 17 – The development of the prehistoric landscape in the Flag Fen Basin423
Chapter 18 – Discussion, part 1: patterns of settlement and land-use428
Chapter 19 – Discussion, part 2: the Flag Fen timber structures444
End matter460
Appendix 1 Detailed soil micromorphological descriptions of samples from the Depot (1992) and Cat's Water (1990) sites, Fengate (Chapters 2 and 3)460
Appendix 2 Detailed soil micromorphological descriptions of samples from the Power Station site (Chapter 14)468
Appendix 3 Concordance list of published and archive trench designations (Chapter 6)471
Appendix 4 Thin section descriptions of the quernstone samples (Chapter 11)472
Appendix 5 Detailed soil micromorphological descriptions of the Flag Fen environs (Chapter 14)473
Fold-out illustrations499
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