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Hydrological Modelling of the Flag Fen Archaeological Site and Wider Landscape: Main Report

Front cover for Hydrological Modelling of the Flag Fen Archaeological Site and Wider Landscape: Main Report

Final Report for Project 6187

By Alice Davis, Samuel Bishop, James Cheetham

The wetland archaeology of Flag Fen, near Peterborough, includes scheduled remains of a Bronze Age timber timber platform and causeway. There has been concern about the long-term survival of these remains, it is thought due to dessication of the soil and underlying deposts. This report, commissioned by English Heritage - now Historic England - examines this problem through modelling the hydrology of the area against different scenarios of change.

The key findings were that:

  • Local artificial drainage appears to play a more crucial role in determining groundwater levels than climate.
  • Hard standing from a proposed new development is not likely to significantly influence the groundwater level.
  • If groundwater levels are to be raised at Flag Fen then it will be necessary to address the problem of artificial drainage.

This study has used modelling to undertake a preliminary assessment of potential management options, including the creation of a wetland (through ditch blocking) to the south of Flag Fen and the diversion of drainage ditches away from the archaeological features. The ditch diversion scenarios gave the best results in terms of raising groundwater levels. Any ditch blocking or diversion scheme would require further studies to assess its feasibility and environmental (including flooding) impact, and Historic England would need to liaise closely with the Environment Agency and Internal Drainage Board.

The research was carried out on behalf of English Heritage (now Historic England) by JBA Consulting. When commissioned, it supported National Heritage Protection Plan activities on understanding attritional environmental threats and on wetland and waterlogged heritage.


Executive Summary
1 Introduction
2. Hydrological Concept Model
3. Numerical Groundwater Model
4. Numerical Modelling Scenarios
5. Conclusions and Recommendations
Appendix A: maps
Appendix B: Technical Details of the Numerical Modelling
Appendix C: Glossary of Hydrogeological Terms
Appendix D: Elevations of Archaeological Wood

Additional Information

  • Publication Status: Completed


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