Only in the late 20th century was Flag Fen internationally recognised as one of the most important Bronze Age sites in Europe. Known as the Flag Fen Bronze Age Centre, it is located some 3 miles east of the cathedral city of Peterborough.
In 1982, in the process of working on one of the Fen drainage ditches, mechanical diggers uncovered an unusually shaped chunk of timber, which attracted the attention of archaeologists. Subsequent radiocarbon dating dated the timber at over 3500 years old and identified it as a young sapling.
Excavation at Flag Fen has provided much information about the type of woodworking technology that existed 3000 years ago, which gives us a better understanding of the lives of our distant ancestors. The specially built Preservation Hall has 3500 year old Bronze Age timbers on display in situ, preserved over the centuries in the peaty mud.
In about 1000BC our Bronze Age ancestors constructed an enormous timber causeway, larger than Wembley Stadium, accompanied by an extensive timber alignment stretching across 1000 metres of watery fen. The entire width of this post alignment, arranged in five rows, has been discovered through careful excavation. However, the 10 metre long stretch that has been excavated only amounts to 1% of the whole structure. Most of the timber used in this massive construction, some 60000 posts in total, date from 1350-950BC. It is generally considered that this timber complex was employed as a religious site for more than 480 years.
The Preservation Hall also offers a 60 metre wall painting depicting life in Bronze Age Fenland. During the summer months ongoing archaeology can be seen from the viewing platform. Nearby is the Museum of the Bronze Age which displays artefacts found on the site during 20 years of excavation.
The Bronze Age Centre is entered through uniquely reconstructed Iron Age and Bronze Age roundhouses, allowing visitors to look into the distant past and experience something of how our ancestors lived.