Iron Age brought to life at Farmland Museum Heritage Open Day

15 September 2021
Boards at the Denny Farmland Museum
On Saturday (18 September), the Farmland Museum and Denny Abbey is opening its doors as part of the National Trust's Heritage Open Days and granting free access to help celebrate Cambridgeshire's Fenland heritage. Among the displays visitors will have the chance to uncover some of Waterbeach Barrack's secrets dating back to the Iron Age.

As part of this summer’s archaeology exhibition in the Stone Barn – Discovering Waterbeach Barracks’ Past – visitors will be able to see first-hand what life would have been like in an Iron Age camp, meet some of the archaeologists involved in the dig and see some of the finds unearthed during the first phase of the archaeological investigations. There will also be opportunities to find out how to get involved with the next phase of archaeology coming forward at the Barracks site.

Rebecca Britton, from Urban&Civic, developers of the Barracks, said: “People generally think of the military heritage of the former Airfield and Barracks, but the archaeology is revealing fascinating insights into the everyday lives of our Iron Age ancestors: how they lived – and died – what they ate, and how they grew or traded what they needed. We hope the displays and activities will be a key part of this year’s focus.”

The theme of this year’s Heritage Open Day is Edible England, and the Museum will be focussing on food and farming. As part of the Waterbeach Barracks’ experience, Iron Age re-enactor Matt Russell will be sharing insights into how our ancestors would have hunted, used a quern stone to grind grain and cooked using a cauldron and tripod.

Alongside him, the Oxford Archaeology team will be on hand to talk through the finds from the first dig, share the learnings to date, and talk about the next phases of excavation coming up later this year.

spears and shield

Sarah Michael from the Farmland Museum and Denny Abbey said: “We’d like to thank Urban&Civic and Oxford Archaeology East for the fascinating glimpse into the past, right on our doorstep at the Barracks. The exhibition has proved really popular with visitors and we’re looking forward to hearing more from the archaeologists involved and gaining a better understanding of what it would have been like to live there all those years ago.”

Burwell Folk will also be performing live music throughout the day to celebrate local music traditions.

The Farmland Museum is open 10am to 4pm Thursday-Sunday until 31 October and the Waterbeach Barracks archaeology exhibition can be found in the Stone Barn until 21 October.

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