The Fens: Discovering England's Ancient Depths (Omnibus)
A look at this remarkable landscape through the eyes of Dr Francis Pryor, one of Britain’s most distinguished archaeologists.
The Fens are a distinctive, complex, man-made and little understood landscape. Francis Pryor has lived in, excavated, farmed, walked and loved the Fens country for more than forty years - its levels and drains, its soaring churches, its magnificent medieval buildings. Interweaving personal experience and passion, the graft and grime of the dig, and lyrical evocations of place, he offers a unique portrait of a neglected but remarkable area of England.
Dr Pryor counterpoints the history of the Fen landscape and its transformation with the story of his own exploration of it as an archaeologist. He recounts his thrilling Bronze Age discoveries in the early 1970s at Fengate and then, a decade later, at Flag Fen near Peterborough - and what those remarkable finds tell us about our ancient ancestors and the way they lived and farmed the land.
We learn how the waterlogged landscape can be a treasure trove for archaeologists and how archaeology has the power to challenge some common misconceptions. Dr Pryor also turns his attention to the future of this low-lying area of Eastern England and the challenges we face in preserving it.
Francis Pryor is one of Britain’s most distinguished living archaeologists, specialising in the study of the Bronze and Iron Ages. He has now retired from full-time field archaeology but still appears on television and writes books as well as being a working sheep farmer.
Omnibus reader: Sam Dale
Abridger: Libby Spurrier
Producer: Alexa Moore
A Pier production first broadcast in five parts on BBC Radio 4 in 2019.