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Department of Archaeology


This archaeology-led initiative focuses on the East Anglian Fens, an extraordinary landscape where exceptional preservation of organic artefacts and environmental evidence gives unparalleled insights into the last 5,000 years of communities, resources and habitats.

The Fens are the richest and most productive agricultural land in the UK, and amongst the most threatened by present and future environmental change. Linking present agricultural productivity and future threats, the archaeological record is the story of a highly dynamic environment in which people were, and continue to be, active participants. The natural heritage of the region is inextricably bound with human lifeways; farmland and fenland co-exist in testament to the tenacity of communities in an unstable but bountiful low-lying landscape.

Fenscapes is hosted and funded by the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research as part of its wider Fenland Initiative – in recognition of the exceptional historical character, research potential and public value of the archaeology of the Fens. The project aims to generate innovative and engaging perspectives on the long-term trajectories of landscapes, habitats and species, including humans. Alongside the core role of collating the very extensive pre-existing data from across the region into an open-access GIS resource, Fenscapes will consider new investigations, and act as a networking hub for the wider community.

We are looking forward to generating partnerships and initiatives with a wide range of regional stakeholders. Please contact us for further information.


The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

Team Members
  • Rachel Ballantyne (Senior Research Associate)
  • Matthew Brudenell (Director, Cambridge Archaeological Unit)
  • Phil Stastney (Senior Research Associate)

Project Lead

Project Tags

Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Periods of interest: 
Classical - Roman
Copper/Bronze Age
Iron Age
Geographical areas: 
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Computational and Quantitative Archaeology
Field Methods
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies
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