The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Flag Fen

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


I’d never got round to visiting Flag Fen but after reading Francis Pryor’s Seahenge book my appetite was well and truly whetted. As it was Fathers Day I had parental visiting obligations to attend to before heading off towards Peterborough and having made a late start as usual, it was 3pm before I got there. I was worried about navigating around the southeastern side of the city after I had left the A1 but luckily Flag Fen is well signposted on the Peterborough ring-roads and it’s easy enough to follow the signs out through an industrial estate and then out into the low lying fens to the site itself. When I got there I was rather surprised to see only 6 cars in the car-park – not that I was complaining, I think most of them belonged to the staff who were very helpful and informative giving me a potted history of the site. Just outside the centre I noticed a container of umbrella’s for the use of visitors on wet days – I thought that was a nice touch.
First stop was the Preservation Hall, lots of displays and information on the way in and ‘atmospheric’ music playing unobtrusively inside. Many people might not get excited at what seems like a random jumble of old timbers on display inside the building but it’s not everyday you get to see the remains of a bronze age trackway still in situ. Thanks to the info boards it’s possible to work out the individual lines of posts that formed the 1 kilometre link between the dry raised areas of Fengate and Northey between 3300 and 2900 years ago.
Next stop were the reconstructed Bronze Age round houses. I was surprised at the amount of room inside while at the same time still being cosy - I want one! The interior was laid out as they believed these dwelling may have looked, with carved wooden beds, weaving frames, tables as well as a hearth etc but there was no sign of any reproduction bronze tools - probably thought to be a bit too ‘portable’ to leave on display.
Next up was the Holme-next-the-Sea timbers housed in their own barn – I’ll cover those in the Seahenge section.
By now I was getting short of time (Flag Fen closes at 5pm) so I only had time for a quick look at the rather fine Iron Age round house and like the others it was well furnished inside with suitable tables, beds, benches, wooden and pottery bowls and frame for the preparation of animal skins. A quick look at the excavated section of Roman road and then onto the museum. It’s only small but has a decent display of the various finds from the site including part of what is believed to be the earliest wheel so far found in Britain. I tried to get a photo but it was on a revolving ‘thingy’ and in the low light the picture came out blurred. My favourite displays though were the bronze swords, daggers and spear heads – the ones shown on the front cover of the ‘Seahenge’ book, for those that have it.
Time to go before the staff shut the gates and there were still parts of the site I hadn’t looked at or had had to rush, the web site recommends a couple of hours to look at everything, I would suggest much longer. Nice place, nice day out.
Chris Collyer Posted by Chris Collyer
28th June 2003ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment