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18 September 2014
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History of a Landscape: Thriplow

By Dr Alan Crosby and Shirley Wittering
Ice Age connections

Image of Thriplow from the church tower
A surveyed field seen from the church tower 
  • Getting expert advice on local geology
  • Uncovering the story behind the Ice Age 'pingoes'

Meanwhile several members joined other classes to increase their knowledge - subjects included science in archaeology; field surveying; vernacular architecture; and several of us attended a WEA course run by Alison Taylor, County Archaeologist, on Roman and Anglo-Saxon History.

'We learned that a pingo was originally a mound of soil pushed up by the freezing of an enclosed pond of water below it.'

One of the group went to the Geology Department of Cambridge University to find out more about the origins of 'pingoes'. These Ice Age relics are features of Thriplow's soil and take their name from an Inuit word meaning 'hill'.

We learned that a pingo was originally a mound of soil pushed up by the freezing of an enclosed pond of water below it. On thawing, the cone of the mound collapsed, which gives the pingo its distinctive shape.

Pingoes can be very large, over 50ft (15m) across, but the ones in Thriplow are quite small about 9ft (3m) across’. In the past they would have been useful because of the water in them. We were slowly managing to identify the intriguing bumps of Thriplow.

Published: 2005-03-03



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