Inland from the Wash, on England’s eastern cost, crisscrossed by substantial rivers & punctuated by soaring church spires, are the low-lying, marshy & mysterious Fens. Formed by marine & freshwater flooding, & historically wealthy owing to the fertility of their soils, the Fens of Lincolnshire & Cambridgeshire are one of the most distinctive, neglected & extraordinary regions of England. Francis Pryor has the most intimate of connections with this landscape. For some 40 years he has dug its soils as a working archaeologist – making ground-breaking discoveries about the nature of prehistoric settlement in the area – & raising sheep in the flower-growing country between Spalding & Wisbech.

The Fens

In The Fens, he counterpoints the history of the Fenland landscape and its transformation – from Bronze age field systems to Iron Age hillforts; from the rise of prosperous towns such as King’s Lynn, Ely and Cambridge to the ambitious drainage projects that created the Old and New Bedford Rivers – with the story of his own discovery of it as an archaeologist. Affectionate, richly informative and deftly executed, The Fens weaves together strands of archaeology, history and personal experience into a satisfying narrative portrait of a complex and threatened landscape. Available in store and online.

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