Young archaeologists take a trip to Flag Fen

Posted by pt91 at May 25, 2011 02:45 PM |
Young archaeology enthusiasts recently had a great opportunity to meet Time Team regular Professor Francis Pryor and see his astonishing discovery firsthand thanks to the University of Leicester.

Debbie Miles-Williams is the Outreach Officer from our School of Archaeology and Ancient History, but she also is an Assistant Young Archaeologists Club Leader for their Leicester branch. She recently arranged a visit to Flag Fen Archaeology Park near Peterborough for twenty of their members.

Flag Fen is home to a unique ancient wooden monument, a kilometre-long wooden causeway and platform perfectly preserved in the wetland. This was built and used by the Celtic fen people as a place of worship and ritual. Buried under the ground are 60,000 upright timbers and 250,000 horizontal planks along with many swords and personal items given as offerings to the watery fen.

Professor Francis Pryor was on hand to give a guided tour of the site for the YAC members. On a chilly November day in 1982 whilst walking a dyke to the east of Fengate, he had stumbled across a piece of oak lying in the mud. Sliding down the side of the dyke to the water’s edge he found more oak wood including what looked like a vertical post that had been clearly worked with a small bladed axe.

Subsequent archaeological investigation revealed large planks of split oak and one with a mortice hole through which a peg had been driven. Further excavations funded by English Heritage revealed this find to be part of a timber platform the size of Wembley Stadium. This late Bronze Age monumental structure is over 3,500 years old!

Some of the YAC members at flag feN 300

The School of Archaeology and Ancient History have been involved in organising events like this for the Young Archaeologist’s Club for several years now. The next YAC meeting will be in June, to the Burrough Hill Iron Age fort in Leicestershire, to participate in a day’s excavation for this season’s fieldwork by the School and University of Leicester Archaeological Services, directed by Dr Jeremy Taylor and Dr John Thomas.

Anyone interested in the Young Archaeologists Club should contact Debbie Miles-Williams at deb@leicester.ac.uk.

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