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Prehistoric & Roman Archaeology at Stonald Field, King's Dyke West, Whittlesey: Monuments and Settlement

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Gibson, David 
Knight, Mark 


East of the Flag Fen basin, near a small land bridge that once joined the fen islands of Whittlesey and Northey, our excavations uncovered an intricate pattern of later prehistoric and Roman archaeology. The site produced a rich collection of artefacts dating from the end of the Neolithic (c. 2500 BC) through to the end of the Roman period (410 AD). Prehistoric monuments, burials and settlement were overlain by the route of the Fen Causeway. The relationships between the different features illustrated a long and complex history to this part of the island, the focus of which began with the construction of a circle of posts and the building of a henge. Once erected this monument became a meeting point attracting both the debris of occupation and the burial of the dead. At the beginning of the Bronze Age round barrows were built next to the henge marking the resting place of ancestors, and eventually the cremated remains of other bereavements were incorporated into or around these earthworks. Down slope, and closer to the northern edge of Whittlesey island, groups of pits and post-holes indicated the regularity of occupation as broken pots, used tools and butchered bones littered their fills. Later in the Bronze Age new constructions created a permanency to this occupation with the post-built foundations of circular houses replacing the scatters of pits. The inhabitants of these houses would have been familiar with the fieldsystems at Fengate and intimate with the practices connected with the construction and ‘use’ of the timber alignments and platform at Flag Fen. With the rising water levels this occupation ceased and it was not until the Roman period that the site witnessed renewed activity. Running across the site and making its way to the now relic platform at Flag Fen went the Fen Causeway as it hopped from island to island linking the high grounds east and west of the fen basin. Its construction brought with it roadside paddocks and enclosures and occasionally these were dotted with small workshops producing pottery or metalwork. Over time the road became less important and gradually an accumulation of debris over its surface bore the evidence of its demise.



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Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge

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