Category Archives: ENGLAND

Medieval Gold Coins Unearthed in Eastern England

Medieval Gold Coins Unearthed in Eastern England

A metal detectorist discovered two ancient and extremely rare gold coins thought to have been lost during the Black Death. Near Reepham, Norfolk, a leopard-shaped 23-carat gold coin was discovered alongside an Edward III golden coin.

The leopard was withdrawn within months of its being minted in 1344 and according to finds liaison officer Helen Geake, hardly any of the coins have survived.

The coins would be worth the equivalent of £12,000 in terms of today’s currency and would have been owned by someone at the top of society’, she told the BBC. 

Medieval Gold Coins Unearthed in Eastern England
The coins were discovered by a metal detectorist in Reepham, Norfolk in October 2019

‘For some reason, they didn’t catch on, but when one or two pennies were the equivalent of a day’s wages at today’s minimum wage rate, perhaps very few people used them,’ she said. 

Called a florin, leopard and a helm, the coinage was an attempt by King Edward III to produce a gold coin suitable to be used in Europe as well as in England. 

But, the gold used to strike the coins was overvalued, which resulted in them being unacceptable to the public. Within months, they were melted down to produce the more popular gold noble, worth six shillings and eightpence.   

The coin was discovered alongside a rare Edward III noble, thought to date between 1351 and 1352, while the bubonic plague, known as the Black Death, was ravaging Europe. 

Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which is carried by fleas and transmitted between animals.

The bubonic plague – the most common form – is caused by the bite of an infected flea and can spread through contact with infectious bodily fluids or contaminated materials. Patients may show signs of fever and nausea and at an advanced stage may develop open sores filled with pus.  

It devastated Europe in the Middle Ages, most notably in the Black Death of the 1340s which killed a third or more of the continent’s population. 

After the Black Death plague became a common phenomenon in Europe, with outbreaks recurring regularly until the 18th century.  When the Great Plague of 1665 hit, a fifth of people in London died, with victims shut in their homes and red crosses painted on the door. 

Bubonic plague has almost completely vanished from the rich world, with 90 per cent of all cases now found in Africa. It is now treatable with antibiotics, as long as they are administered quickly. 

Still, there have been a few non-fatal cases in the U.S., with an average of seven reported a year, according to disease control bosses.  From 2010 to 2015 there were 3,248 cases reported worldwide, including 584 deaths, says the World Health Organisation

Some plague vaccines have been developed, but none are available to the general public. The WHO does not recommend vaccination except for high-risk groups such as health care workers.  

Without antibiotics, the bubonic strain can spread to the lungs – where it becomes the more virulent pneumonic form.  Pneumonic plague, which can kill within 24 hours, can then be passed on through coughing, sneezing or spitting.  

The coins were thought to be lost after the Norman Conquest, as the only coins in circulation were silver pennies.  

Dr Geake said no one really knows why Edward III decided to reintroduce the first gold coins in England since the Anglo-Saxon era.    The find shows that the leopard, worth three shillings at the time, was in circulation for longer than historians have previously believed. 

The coin was discovered alongside a rare Edward III noble, thought to date between 1351/52

But, after looking at the circumstances at the time, they realised that it coincided with the Black Death reaching England in 1348 – a ‘cataclysmic’ event which saw coinage issues drop in priority.  

‘Usually the authorities would be keen to remove a withdrawn coin as soon as possible,’ Dr Geake said. 

The coins were discovered by a metal detectorist in October 2019. 

Footprints of Last Dinosaurs To Walk on UK Soil 110 Million Years Ago Found in Kent

Footprints of Last Dinosaurs To Walk on UK Soil 110 Million Years Ago Found in Kent

In the realm of palaeontology, there’s some exciting news! At least six different dinosaur species’ footprints have been unearthed – the very last dinosaurs to walk on UK land 110 million years ago!

Footprints of Last Dinosaurs To Walk on UK Soil 110 Million Years Ago Found in Kent
Footprints Of Last Dinosaurs To Walk On UK Soil 110 Million Years Ago Found in Kent

These footprints have been discovered in Folkestone, a port town on the English Channel, in Kent, south-east England, reports PTI.

“This is the first time dinosaur footprints have been found in strata known as the ‘Folkestone Formation” and it’s quite an extraordinary discovery because these dinosaurs would have been the last to roam in this country before becoming extinct,’ said David Martill, Professor of Palaeobiology, at the University of Portsmouth.

“They were walking around close to where the White Cliffs of Dover are now – next time you’re on a ferry and you see those magnificent cliffs just imagine that,” he said.

Footprint fossils are formed by sediment filling the impression when a dinosaur’s foot pushes into ground

The study titled ‘The youngest dinosaur footprints from England and their palaeoenvironmental implications’ has been published in the journal ‘Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association” this week.

In fact, some of these unique footprints are also on display at the Folkestone Museum.

According to the study, these newly discovered dinosaur footprints can be referred to as theropod, ornithopod and possibly ankylosaur dinosaurs.

These dinosaur footprints were discovered by researchers in the cliffs and on the foreshore in Folkestone.

The town suffers through stormy conditions that affect the cliff and coastal waters. This is why it’s constantly revealing new fossils.

According to Philip Hadland, Collections and Engagement Curator, at the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery and the lead author on the paper, “Back in 2011, I came across unusual impressions in the rock formation at Folkestone. They seemed to be repeating and all I could think was they might be footprints”.

He further added, “this was at odds with what most geologists say about the rocks here, but I went looking for more footprints and as the tides revealed more by erosion, I found even better ones.

More work was needed to convince the scientific community of their validity, so I teamed up with experts at the University of Portsmouth to verify what I’d found.”

Perfect 215-million-year-old dinosaur print found by a girl, 4, on Welsh beach

Perfect 215-million-year-old dinosaur print found by a girl, 4, on Welsh beach

A girl from Wales discovered a well-preserved 215 million-year-old dinosaur print, described as the ‘finest of its type found in 10 years. After making the discovery on a beach at Bendricks Bay near Barry, four-year-old Lily Wilder has been hailed by researchers.

The girl, from Llandough, near Cardiff, found the fossilised rock as she walked out with her dad, Richard, 47.

The print is just over 3.9 inches long and was made by a two-footed dinosaur currently unknown to science.

Lily Wilder with her mum Sally and dad Richard and the dinosaur footprint she found on Bendricks Bay Barry

The creature that created it is thought to have stood about 75cm tall and 2.5m long.

Experts called it ‘the finest impression of a 215-million-year-old dinosaur print found in Britain in a decade.

The footprint as it was found by Lilly Wilder, 4

It was so perfect Mum Sally, 38, said they initially thought it was a carving made by artists.

She said: ‘Lily saw it when they were walking along and said, “daddy look”. 

‘When Richard came home and showed me the photograph, I thought it looked amazing.

‘Richard thought it was too good to be true. I was put in touch with experts who took it from there. 

‘We weren’t even sure it was real. 

‘I was imagining an artist had gone down and scratched it out, but I knew dinosaur footprints had been found along that piece of the coast before, so I just thought I’d ask some people.

‘I found this fossil identification page on Facebook and I posted it on there and people went a bit crazy.

‘It’s all been so exciting, discovering that it’s actually what they thought it was.’

It was inspected after Sally and their husband Richard reported the finding to experts, including palaeontologists, who specialise in dinosaurs. 

Karl-James Langford, of Archaeology Cymru called it ‘the finest impression of a 215-million-year-old dinosaur print found in Britain in a decade.’

He added: ‘It’s so perfect and absolutely pristine, it’s a wonderful piece.

‘I would say it’s internationally important and that is why the museum took it. I would say it’s the best dinosaur footprint found in the UK in the past 10 years.’

A spokesman from the National Museum in Cardiff said the detail in the fossil was of great value to science.

‘Its spectacular preservation may help scientists establish more about the actual structure of their feet as the preservation is clear enough to show individual pads and even claw impressions.’

British teacher finds long-lost relative: 9,000-year-old man

British teacher finds long-lost relative: 9,000-year-old man

Adrian Targett visited the home of a close relative yesterday. He had to put on Wellington boots because the floor is muddy. The relative was not in. Hardly surprising: he died 9,000 years ago.

9,000-Year-Old Cheddar Man Has Living Descendant Still Living in The Same Area

But there is no doubt: Mr Targett, a 42-year-old history teacher in Cheddar, Somerset, has been shown by DNA tests to be a direct descendant, by his mother’s line, of “Cheddar Man“, the oldest complete skeleton ever found in Britain, and now also the world’s most distant confirmed relative.

Even the Royal Family can only trace its heritage back to King Ecgbert, who ruled from 829AD to 830AD. By contrast, Cheddar Man, a hunter-gatherer who pre-dated the arrival of farming, lived in 7150BC.

The news caught everyone by surprise. Mr Targett’s wife, Catherine, said: “This is all a bit of a surprise, but maybe this explains why he likes his steaks rare”.

The discovery came about during tests performed as part of a television series on archaeology in Somerset, Once Upon a Time in the West, to be shown later this year.

DNA found in the pulp cavity of one of Cheddar Man’s molar teeth was tested at Oxford University’s Institute of Molecular Medicine, and then compared with that of 20 people locally, whose families were known to have been living in the area for some generations.

To make up the numbers, Mr Targett, an only child who has no children, joined in. But the match was unequivocal: the two men have a common maternal ancestor. The mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from the egg, confirmed it.

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed,” Mr Targett said on hearing of the match. “It is very strange news to receive – I’m not sure how I feel at the moment.”

His pupils were delighted (“He has never had a nickname … until now,” one 16-year-old said with relish) and so were scientists. The finding could provide a key to the debate about the process by which early humans settled down to agricultural life.

Cheddar Man was discovered in 1903, 20 metres inside Gough’s cave, which is the largest of 100 caverns in Cheddar Gorge – Britain’s prime site for Palaeolithic human remains. He had been buried alone in a chamber near the mouth of a deep cave, about 1,000 years before hunter-gathering began to give way to farming.

Visiting the site, Mr Targett said: “I’m glad I don’t live down here – it’s very dark, dank and dismal. I have been down here before but, of course, I never dreamed that I was standing in my ancestor’s home.”

Dr Larry Barham, an archaeology lecturer at Bristol University, said: “There is debate over whether farmers arrived from eastern Europe and ousted the hunter-gatherers – or whether the idea of farming spread through the population. This discovery strongly suggests an element of the second.”

In Cheddar Man’s time, the area would have been sparsely populated, with dense forests. He would have hunted deer, rabbits, waterfowl and perhaps fish, and gathered nuts, fruit and edible roots. “There were wild boar, bears and beavers.

There were packs of wild wolves, too, but apart from that life was probably pretty good. Cheddar Gorge would have looked similar then and must have been a good spot, with ready-made homes, a spring and forest nearby,” Dr Barham said.

Physically, Cheddar Man would have looked like a modern man. “You could put a suit on him and he wouldn’t look out of place in an office. In fact, he probably wore tailored clothes of leather or skins sewn together,” Dr Barham added.

“It is likely he was part of an extended group of families of 30 or so people. They lived too late to see a woolly mammoth, and too soon to see the earliest farming.”

The link between Cheddar Man and Adrian Targett easily outstrips the existing record for distant ancestors.

The oldest previously recorded relative was the great-great-great-great-grandfather of Confucius who lived in the eighth century BC. Two of Confucius’s 85th lineal male descendants today live in Taiwan.

‘Exceptionally high’ number of decapitated bodies found at Roman burial site

‘Exceptionally high’ number of decapitated bodies found at Roman burial site

'Exceptionally high' number of decapitated bodies found at Roman burial site
One of the decapitated skeletons found at Knobb’s Farm.

Ancient Romans left an enduring mark on present-day Britain. Crumbling stone walls across the island speak to their once-vast empire. But a cemetery uncovered in Cambridgeshire highlights another legacy of Roman rule — its brutality. Here, archaeologists discovered a high number of decapitated skeletons, likely belonging to people who somehow offended their conquerers.

Archaeologists from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit made the discovery at Knobb’s Farm in Cambridgeshire, some 70 miles north of London. There, between 2001 and 2010, they unearthed three Roman-era cemeteries from the third century.

But these cemeteries stood out. Of the 52 burials, 17 were decapitated, and 13 were buried face down. And now, researchers are pointing out the significance of the macabre site.

“Knobb’s Farm has an exceptionally high proportion of decapitated bodies and prone burials (33 per cent and 25 per cent) when compared with burial grounds locally and across Roman Britain,” noted a study published in the journal Britannica in May 2021.

The people buried at Knobb’s Farm also seemed to have died violent deaths. Isabel Lisboa, the archaeologist who led the excavations, noted that they were likely alive when beheaded.

A graphic showing that this skeleton was hit with a “blow was directed obliquely downwards from behind and to the left,” indicating that he was kneeling when he died.

Some of the skeletons even bore marks of more extreme violence. One man had several deep cuts in the back of his skull, suggesting that someone had subdued him with a sword before chopping off his head. And one woman’s skeleton bore cut marks on her face, arms, and legs.

“It is not possible to distinguish whether [her injuries] were made immediately before death (resulting from, for example, torture or flaying) or after death (for example, from corpse mutilation, post-mortem ‘punishment’ or ritual de-fleshing of the body),” noted the study.

So why does Knobb’s Farm contain so many beheaded skeletons? It likely has to do with both the age of the skeletons and their location.

Some decapitated skeletons had their skulls placed at their feet, perhaps to keep their spirits from rising.

For 400 years — until about 410 A.D. — the Roman Empire ruled over present-day England. But their grip on power started to slip in the third century. As a result, anyone who dared defy the Romans could face extreme punishment.

“Any hint of insurrection against the Roman state would’ve been dealt with extremely violently,” explained Chris Gosden, a professor of European archaeology at the University of Oxford.

Indeed, the number of crimes in Britain that Romans felt worthy of the death penalty more than doubled in the third century — and quadrupled in the fourth century.

As such, researchers also noted that Roman cemeteries of the first and second centuries contained roughly 5 per cent decapitated bodies. But cemeteries that date between the third and fifth centuries contain almost 10 per cent.

Archeologists at the burial site.

Plus, the people who worked at Knobb’s Farm served a particularly important purpose to the Roman Empire — they helped supply the Roman Imperial Army. They bore unusual scrutiny from authorities.

“Roman laws seem to have been applied particularly harshly at Knobb’s Farm because it was associated with supplying the Roman army, so there were many decapitations,” explained Lisboa.

“Crimes normally would have been let go, but there were probably tensions with the Roman army.”

Because people living in the area supplied meat and grain to Roman troops, Roman authorities harshly punished any wrongdoing. Crimes that merited the death penalty, according to Gosden, could range from murder and theft to merely desecrating a shrine.

Over the centuries, the charges brought against those killed at Knobb’s Farm have been lost. But archaeologists do have a couple of clues about the people themselves. By studying their DNA and tooth enamel, researchers believe that Romans recruited people from far-flung regions like present-day Scotland, and the Alps.

And because they were buried among non-decapitated skeletons, researchers suspect that they had people who loved and cared for them.

“They were not buried as outcasts — they were buried in the normal rite with miniature pots around their heads,” Lisboa noted.

Indeed, despite the brutality of Roman rule in England, it seems that the Romans did allow their subjects one small mercy. Roman law permitted friends and families of executed criminals to request their bodies’ return for a proper burial.

The shackled skeleton may be the first direct evidence of slavery in Roman Britain

The shackled skeleton may be the first direct evidence of slavery in Roman Britain

The shackled skeleton may be the first direct evidence of slavery in Roman Britain
The Great Casterton Roman burial shackles were found locked around the skeleton’s ankles.

His ankles secured with heavy, locked iron fetters, the enslaved man appears to have been thrown in a ditch – a final act of indignity in death.

Now the discovery of the shackled male skeleton by workers in Rutland – thought to have been aged in his late 20s or early 30s – has been identified as rare and important evidence of slavery in Roman Britain and “an internationally significant find”.

It was also desperately grim, said Chris Chinnock, one of the archaeologists working on the project, but was important because it “forces us to ask questions that we wouldn’t ordinarily ask”.

Builders came across the bones when they were constructing a conservatory at a house in Great Casterton. Police were called and subsequent radiocarbon dating showed the remains were from between AD226 to AD427.

Archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (Mola) were called in and have been researching the skeleton, with their findings published on Monday in the journal Britannia.

No one doubts that slavery existed during the Roman occupation of Britain but discovering direct archaeological evidence is another matter. Most of what is known come from inscriptions. “To have the opportunity to study the body of a person who quite probably was a slave is really important,” said Michael Marshall, a finds specialist at Mola.

Roman soldiers direct people to build a road in Roman Britain. From a painting by Paul Hardy.

The Great Casterton discovery is the first of its type in Britain, described by researchers as the clearest case of a burial of an enslaved individual found in the UK. “This burial is exceptionally unusual,” said Marshall.

Precisely who the man was will never be known but a number of informed guesses can be made. “It could be the dead person was somebody who had earned the ire of other people,” said Marshall. “Equally it could be that the people who buried him were tyrannical and awful. We can’t really understand the moral dimensions.”

The team have been examining a number of theories including that the shackles might have been added after the man died to demean him or brand him as a criminal in the afterlife.

The few skeletons found with shackles in other countries are normally the victims of natural disasters and have not been buried. That is not the case in Great Casterton, say archaeologists.

The burial position is an awkward one, said Chinnock, with the skeleton slightly on his right side and his left side and arm elevated on a slope. There is a Roman cemetery just 60 metres away, suggesting a conscious decision not to bury him properly. The likely explanation is that he has been thrown in a ditch and covered over.

A diagram of the Great Casterton shackled burial.

Chinnock, an expert in ancient bones, said the man appeared to be between 26 and 35 and had led a physically demanding life. A bony spur on an upper leg bone may have been caused by a fall or blow or be the result of a life filled with excessive physical activity. The injury had healed by the time he died and the cause of his death remains unknown.

The Mola team say the identity of the man will never be known but “the various pieces of evidence present the most convincing case for the remains of a Roman slave yet to be found in Britain”.

A number of questions remain around the Great Casterton man but it was clear, Marshall said, that it was “extraordinary” evidence of mistreatment. “For living wearers, shackles were both a form of imprisonment and a method of punishment, a source of discomfort, pain and stigma which may have left scars even after they had been removed.”

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It was difficult to get away from the conclusion that the people who disposed of the shackled man “really hated him and were really keen to make that obvious, whether to other people or in the longer, more spiritual sense”.

2,000-Year-Old Roman Face Cream With Visible, Ancient Fingermarks

2,000-Year-Old Roman Face Cream With Visible, Ancient Fingermarks

A 2,000-year-old cream was discovered inside a sealed Roman jar, replete with fingerprints. The metal item, which measures 6cm in diameter and is in good condition, was discovered during excavations at a Roman temple complex in Southwark, London.

Experts from the Museum of London raised the cover of the spherical metal pot. The finding of the white substance with a sulphurous odour surprised and delighted archaeologists.

“I am astounded,” said Garry Brown, managing director of Pre-Construct Archaeology whose team of archaeologists have been painstakingly excavating the Tabard Square site over the past year. “It appears to be a kind of cosmetic cream or ointment. Creams of this kind do not ordinarily survive into the archaeological record, so this is a unique find.”

Further scientific analysis will determine whether the paste was used for medicinal or cosmetic purposes.

“This discovery is absolutely remarkable. The cream could be face paint applied as part of ritual ceremonies. We know that the Romans used donkey’s milk for the skin, so the scientific analysis will be very revealing”, said Francis Grew, curator at the Museum of London. “In my 20 years working in London archaeology, I have never come across a box with a sealed lid.”

“Only two similar containers, both without lids, have been found in London and both were in-market sites,” added Elizabeth Barhan, conservator at the Museum of London.

“It is a fantastic human element to find the finger marks on the inside of the lid,” said Nansi Rosenberg, senior archaeological consultant at EC Harris, the consultancy which is managing the excavation. The imprints could shed further light on whether the pot was used by an adult or child, male or female.

2,000-Year-Old Roman Face Cream With Visible, Ancient Fingermarks
Roman pot containing 2,000-year old cream or ointment, complete with finger prints.

Although at the moment there is no indication as to who might have placed the container in the sealed ditch, it is believed the drain in which it was found may have had a ritual significance.

The box is one of many items found at the site of the temple complex, one of the most important Roman sites discovered in Britain in the last 10 years.

The temple complex has been dated to the mid-2nd century AD, but the site was occupied from the earliest days of the Roman occupation, with clay and timber shops springing up around AD 50 on the Watling Street side of the site. Key finds include the Tabard inscription, which shows the earliest known naming of London, “Londinesi”, as well as a second tin object – a wide-mouthed bowl – and a life-size bronze foot.

Chemical tests on the pristine pot, which also has small circular grooves on the outside, have shown it to be made almost entirely of tin.

“The quality of the box is exquisite,” said Mr Grew. “The cap fits perfectly, it is water-tight and secure. Whoever used this pot would have been from the bourgeoisie of the Roman world. Tin was a precious metal at this time.”

“We’re lucky in London to have a marshy site where the contents of this sealed box must have been preserved very quickly – the metal is hardly corroded at all” added Ms Rosenberg.

The discovery of two Romano-Celtic temples along with a possible guesthouse has been an exciting and significant find: “It alters our whole perception – Southwark was a major religious focus of the Roman capital,” said Ms Rosenberg.

The box and its contents will be immediately placed on display at the Museum of London, along with other key finds.

Now that the excavation work has been completed, the site will not be preserved. The prime London site, owned by Berkeley Homes, will become a residential development.

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The unveiling coincides with a call by the Mayor of London, English Heritage and the Museum of London for more Londoners to get involved in archaeology through the launch of the Research Framework for London Archaeology.

Iron Age and Roman Skeletons Discovered on Alderney

Iron Age and Roman Skeletons Discovered on Alderney

A Cemetery used for centuries has started giving up its secrets, after radiocarbon dating on some of the skeletons came back showing the graves were from the Iron Age and Roman eras.

States archaeologist Phil de Jersey, in the straw hat, examines one of the Alderney skeletons.

States archaeologist Phil de Jersey said the site on Longis Common in Alderney was one of the most exciting archaeological sites in the Channel Islands because the two metres of sand over the graves has helped preserve the bones and protect the site from being disturbed.

In 2017 the laying of an electricity cable on Rue des Mielles, near Longis Bay, uncovered human bones. It led to exploration by the Guernsey Museum and the Alderney Society.

Archaeologists already knew that Longis was a Roman burial ground, in 2017 they found human remains, headstones, and tombs from the Roman period.

Radiocarbon dating for eight of the bones has now been carried out – five from the service trench along the Rue des Mielles and three from the excavation of a paddock field.

They date from about 750BC up to 238AD.

Dr de Jersey said they had expected the bones to be from the late Iron Age, based on the pottery finds, but the surprise was the wide timespan covered.

‘It does imply that the site was used for a long time – hundreds of years,’ he said.

A settlement from around the same era was excavated up the hill from the site in the 1970s and Dr de Jersey said the inhabitants possibly lived on the hill and buried their dead at its foot.

Among the bone finds was a human female, who was likely to be from between 590 and 380BC. The iron and bronze torc around her neck corresponds well with these dates.

Another adult female was also found, but she was likely to be from between 170BC and AD90. The pot buried at her head is characteristically late Iron Age, which fits in with the range of second century BC and the turn of the millennium.

Dr de Jersey said the date range was very wide and indicated that the burials were over a much larger area than they had expected. He also noted that there was likely to be a lot more to find.

‘It’s all been protected by two metres of sand and it’s never been developed. The sand is great for preserving and the bones were in very good condition for their age.’

He would be interested to carry out a large scale excavation, but the Guernsey archaeology department has a very limited budget and the area presents challenges. The sand that so well preserves the bones makes digging down two metres very difficult because the sides of the trenches are hard to stabilise, meaning large pits have to be dug.

‘You can’t dig small trenches,’ said Dr de Jersey.

‘So logistically it’s a very challenging site to dig. And we just don’t have the resources.’

However, there is some hope. If a university took on the project it would have students to help with excavating the dig, although travel restrictions due to Covid and the ordinary challenges with getting to Alderney would make it difficult.

An individual in the UK has secured a grant to carry out a ground-penetrating radar scan of the common, which would help determine the scale of the cemetery. Dr de Jersey said they were conscious there are also Second World War graves on the common, but the scan would not disturb them.

With the current travel restrictions, it is not clear when this can take place. Dr de Jersey said when they finally dig the site, it was important to do it right.

‘I would rather not dig it than dig it badly,’ he said.

‘It can only ever be dug once, as digging is very destructive, so we need to make sure we do a good job of it.’

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Fortunately, there is time to ensure it is done right.

‘It’s not threatened,’ he said.

‘It’s about as safe as it can be. So if we have to wait another 10 years, it will not make a difference.’