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10 December 2006
Grant sought for Flag Fen digs

The team behind one of the most important Bronze Age sites in Europe are making a bid for a £1 million grant. Flag Fen Bronze Age Centre in Fengate, Peterborough (England), relies solely on grants and donations to keep up its important archaeological work and growing tourist appeal. General manager Georgia Butters and her team are hoping to be given the Heritage Lottery Fund cash to make the centre and surrounding 20-acre park – which welcomed more than 14,000 visitors last year – more people friendly.
     Ms Butters said the centre had launched a city-wide consultation project to find out exactly what residents want to see introduced. She said: "The money could be spent on updating our museum, improving the information displays, better access or more interactive displays. We’re looking at the different ways we can draw people in."
     The site was discovered in 1982 by a mechanical digger working on one of the Fen drainage ditches.  He pulled up some timber that appeared to have been split in a very distinctive manner. A team of archaeologists, led by TV’s Time Team’s Dr Francis Pryor, who founded the centre, sent the timber for radiocarbon analysis, revealing that it dated back to 1000 BCE. Today, excavations on site continue apace as archaeologists battle to remove wood from the water-logged land before it dries out. They estimate that a large part of the site will be lost in 20 years if excavation work is not carried out now.
     The centre depends on the efforts of volunteers to help man the park, to act as tour guides, to help out in the cafe and to help the centre’s education team during school tours. Ms Butters said: "We’re really keen to hear from people who want to get involved." You can call Flag Fen on 01733 313414.

Source: Peterborough Today (9 December 2006)

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