Flag Fen
Bronze Age Trackway and Visitor Centre
East of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire  OS Map Ref TL225989
OS Maps - Landranger 142 (Peterborough), Explorer 227 (Peterborough)

Flag Fen - Trackway Timbers
Timbers from the trackway. Lines of vertical posts run from left to right of the picture.
The Flag Fen visitors centre is well signposted from the Peterborough ring-roads and is well worth a visit for its range of archaeological finds, interpretations and reconstructions.

The main basis of the site is a 1000 metre long wooden trackway that was built during the Bronze Age between 1350 and 950 BC to link the two dry 'islands' of Fengate and Northey. This trackway consisted of five parallel lines of upright timber posts that supported the wooden boardwalk - it is estimated that over sixty thousand timbers were used during its construction. It is also believed that the five rows were not contemporary, rather that as each set of timbers rotted away another set of uprights was installed to replace the old posts. A section of this trackway is preserved in situ in the Preservation Hall and at first sight appears to be a random jumble of rotted wooden posts but interpretation boards and paintings help to bring the scene to life for the visitor.

Flag Fen also features an excavated section of Roman road - the Fen Causeway, the only major Roman road that crosses the Fens which was built not long after the Roman invasion of Britain in the mid 1st century AD. Other archaeological sights to see at the centre include sections of timber from various sources that are undergoing preservation which mainly involves long term soaking in tanks, the numerous information boards explain the different processes involved. The most famous of the timbers being preserved here are those from the wooden circle found on the beach at Holme-next-the-Sea in Norfolk, the monument more commonly known as Seahenge.

Among the reconstructions on the site are both Bronze Age and Iron Age round houses. The interiors of these 'wattle and daub' walled and turf and thatch roofed dwellings are laid out as it is believed they may have looked, with carved wooden beds, benches, wooden and pottery bowls, weaving frames, tables and hearths etc - the insides are surprisingly roomy and airy. There is also a small museum on the site that houses many of the finds from Flag Fen and the surrounding archaeological sites, these finds include the remains of the oldest wheel so far discovered in Britain as well as several fine Bronze Age swords, daggers and spearheads that are thought to have been cast into the waters of the Fen as ritual offerings.
Flag Fen - Bronze Age Round House
Reconstruction of a Bronze Age round house which features a turf covered roof.
Flag Fen - Iron Age Round House
Reconstruction of an Iron Age round house with thatched roof.
Flag Fen Iron Age Round house interior
Interior of the Iron Age round house. The large vertical timbers support the roof structure.

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