Fengate, Cambridgeshire, England

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Multiperiod prehistoric settlements on the edge of the Fenlands in eastern England. Excavations by Francis Pryor and colleagues since 1971 have revealed a long sequence of occupation starting in the middle Neolithic and extending through into early Roman times. In the 4th millennium bc there was a small square Neolithic house and a pit‐grave well spaced out across the landscape and representing the first major colonization of the area. During the 3rd millennium, however, the area started to fill up, with the establishment of a small field system and more extensive settlement. This process continued through the 2nd and 1st millennia bc, with the appearance soon after 1000 bc of a series of structures on a timber platform in a marshy area at what is now Flag Fen. A series of post alignments run across the wetland near the platform and during the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age acted to trap material moving about in the shallow water round the island, making a rich assemblage in archaeological terms. One of the activities happening within and around Flag Fen was the deposition into the water of metal objects, perhaps as some kind of offerings. Settlement in the area continued through the Iron Age and early Roman period, but from the 3rd century ad the water level rose, flooding the landscape and causing the people to move to drier ground.


F. Pryor, 1991, Flag Fen. London: Batsford and English Heritage

Subjects: Archaeology.

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