Sites & cities that bear the name of Flag Fen

Flag Fen

Today in : United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
First trace of activity : 1,365 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : 967 B.C.E

Description : Flag Fen, east of Peterborough, England, is a Bronze Age site developed about 3500 years ago, consisting of more than 60,000 timbers arranged in five very long rows, creating a wooden causeway (around 1 km long) across the wet fenland. Part-way across the structure a small island was formed. Items associated with it have led scholars to conclude that the island was of religious significance. Archaeological work began in 1982 at the site, which is located 800 m (0.5 miles) east of Fengate. Flag Fen is now part of the Greater Fens Museum Partnership. A visitor centre has been constructed on site and some areas have been reconstructed, including a typical Iron Age roundhouse dwelling. A Neolithic trackway once ran across what archaeologists have termed the "Flag Fen Basin", from a dry-land area known as Fengate to a natural clay island called Northey. The basin is an embayment of low-lying land on the western margins of the Fens. The level of inundation by 1300 BC led the occupants to construct a timber causeway along the trackway route. The causeway and centre platform were formed by driving 'thousands of posts with long pencil-like tips' through the 'accumulating peaty muds' and into the firmer ground below. The resulting structure covered three and a half acres. Dendrochronological analysis (dating of the posts by studying tree rings) led to an estimated date for the various stages of construction of between 1365 and 967 BC. Some of the timbers, such as oak, were not native to the local environment, which perhaps means that the people who constructed the timber causeway wanted to use materials that had religious significance to their lives. They made a significant effort to transport the timbers to the site from distant sources. Similarly, scholars have traced the bluestone used at Stonehenge, Salisbury, as originating in the Preseli Mountains in Wales.

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