Fen-tastic news for heritage site
THE city’s Flag Fen heritage site - which came close to permanent closure - has received a boost after being chosen to feature in a new TV series.
Supporters of the Bronze Age attraction, at The Droveway, off Northey Road, Fengate, say it being showcased on national TV highlights its huge importance.
There were fears Flag Fen would not reopen after its closure for the winter season last September, following a funding crisis.
It was only thanks to the hard work of volunteers that it reopened in spring - though only on weekends and special school visits. More cash is still needed to secure its long-term future and develop the site.
Professor Frances Pryor - an archaeologist who features on TV show Time Team - discovered Flag Fen.
He was on site on Wednesday to advise producers during the filming of new four-part BBC2 series History of Ancient Britain.
Prof Pryor said that being in this new series would show the uniqueness of Flag Fen not just in this country, but in the world.
He said: “It really shows what a jewel we have here in Peterborough.
“The fact it is in this series underlines the need for funding and promoting it as part of the city’s heritage.
“It is great that an ancient site like this in Peterborough can play a major part in it.”
He said he hoped the programme would generate interest in securing Flag Fen’s future, not just from city residents but people country-wide.
He added: “Losing this site would be a disaster, not just for Peterborough but for the world and I hope the interest shown will further ignite interest and attract people from across the country.”
Producers of History of Ancient Britain hope Flag Fen - one of Europe’s most important Bronze Age sites - can help them find out more about the lives and loves of city folk more than 1,200 years ago.
The series will look at the very beginning of Britain’s story, from the retreat of the glaciers 12,000 years ago, until the departure of the Roman Empire in the Fifth Century.
The show is fronted by TV historian and archaeologist Neil Oliver, who presented hit TV series Coast.
He will examine everything from what people ate, to how they traded commercially, how they lived as a family and what their religious beliefs were.
Mr Oliver said doing this series took him back to his undergraduate roots as a history and archeology student and said it was the first time he had visited Flag Fen.
He said: “It feels like a busman’s holiday, as I studied Scottish pre-history and I love this stuff.
“These sites are ripe for the imagination because, despite us knowing a lot about these sites, they can always surprise us.
“I am always telling young people to remember these people are the same as us, they are just living in different circumstances.
“I know from my own children that the experience of history in schools is not great and pre-history is not even on the curriculum, so for children to come here and learn, experience and imagine what life was like in those times is great.”
UNEARTHING THE PAST: Neil Oliver - presenter of History of Ancient Britain - speaks to
director of excavations Francis Pryor at Flag Fen during filming of the BBC2 series.