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The fenland zone comprises two geological types with silt-fen or marshland to the north and peat-fen to the south-west, extending into Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Suffolk. A narrow escarpment runs north-south east of the Wash, with chalklands to the east in Norfolk. In north-eastern Norfolk good sandy soils overlie the chalk, providing rich ploughzone agriculture. The region has always been important for its wetland resources, including the extraction of salt around the Wash (Sawyer 1998, 15).

Interactive map
Figure 48: Interactive map of PAS finds in the Fenland region

The increasing density of portable antiquities in the Fenland (Fig. 48) clearly demonstrates increasing settlement in this region through time. During the Iron Age finds are concentrated in the better drained areas away from the Wash. This distribution is intensified during the Roman period, with clusters of finds along the major communication routes and on newly drained lands. Early medieval finds follow a similar distribution but this is extended in the later medieval period with new groups of finds on land freshly brought into settlement. The Fenland survey has charted this evolution using field walking; the metal-detected finds illustrate the same trends (Silvester 1988; 1991).


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