Er, no. But most assuredly, apart from that tranche of people who admire that long haired Scottish TV historian who pops up for pre-history on the odd occaision, for varied reasons, this is what a large amount of people think. Civilization, farming, clothing, probably speech, started with the Romans. Except not. Complex communities, trading between countries, wars, farming, were undoubtedly happening before togas appeared. And Fenland is uniquely placed to show just how amazing these pre-history societies were.
|Bronze age scythe. I love the screw hole.|
|Riverbed, showing fishing traps.|
Longboats had been found, in Bradly Fen, and Peterborough, but not in this joyous amount. 8 so far and counting, this is clearly a race of water babies, and possibly seafaring ones (much of the Bronze age finds here relate to those found in Norway, there may well have been a link betwen the cultures, they may well have been, in fact, one culture). The boats are dug out, not fired out, mostly oak (with 2 ash) and carved. The flotilla contains probably one of the earliest examples of a log boat made from a single trunk, with a separate panel for the rear. Even to a complete novice like me, they can't fail to impress.
A great deal of domestic pottery, textile and implements have been found, including farming tools and cookware, all beautifully preserved, due to the clay and, a ruddy great fire. (The pot to the right shows food still carbonised in the pot). The platform bridge and the surrounds were quite clearly burnt in a huge fire at some point, and what we can't know, of course is why.Cooking gone wrong, or attack? When you look at the huge array of weaponry found, you can't help but think that the times were perhaps less calm than "Time Team" might have you believe. Less building bridges to meet and trade, than to attack and defend. There are hundreds of finds lining the dig, some swords nicked and clashed with signs of battle,and this, combined with the amount of bone found in the river channel, may lead you to conclude that it wasn't always farming and fishing the community concentrated on. No burial chambers or sites have been found, but plenty of bone and ceremonially broken swords in the river, leading you to ponder whether the river was also a cemetary as well as dinner source.
|Rapier. Not for playing with.|
Map showing the platform (bridges) between islands, and the river channel in blue. Sword deposisitions are marked in yellow. Quite a bit of defending and fighting round bridges going on, I surmise !
You can see my flickr set of the visit here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/55291255@N00/sets/72157629598981121/