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As most people know, it’s normal practice for archaeologists to examine 100% of the artefacts uncovered during excavations. So it was a shock to archaeologists to be told recently by Highways England that they were only willing to fund the sifting of from 4 to 14% of the ground displaced in constructing the new road.

Experts believe half a million artefacts are likely to be unearthed – which means up to 480,000 artefacts will be ploughed back underground forever, unexamined. In case you have difficulty visualising the scale of that loss to science, here are 480,000 dots!

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Mr Jim Hunter of Highways England commented: “We are confident we can deal with the archaeology in an appropriate way”. Mr Hunter was talking nonsense.

 

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