Secrets of the vanished landscape

20 Aug 2010

The story is at www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817143818.htm and concerns a five thousand year old fossilised landscape beneath the Fens of what is now Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and the NE corner of Norfolk. It has been a giant wetlands for centuries - not quite land and not quite the sea. In the Bronze Age people hunted and fished there much like they did in the similar environment of the Middle Ages. It has been drained and peat has been extracted and farmed for a couple of centuries - and what remains has shrank (as it has dried out). As this has happened over the years various interesting bits of archaeology have been revealed. In this paper it is the fossilised landscape beneath the peat that is the focus of interest - and note the date, five thousand years brings us to that date of around 3000BC when sea levels around Britain rose dramatically. What has been found are rivers and streams (paper published in the Proceedings of the Geological Association) and what seems to be clear is that this environment came to a catastrophic end - suddenly. It was choked by sediment swept in by the sea.