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Archaeologists begin work on HS2

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A record number of archaeologists and heritage experts from the UK and overseas have begun work on HS2 Phase One as part of the project’s enabling works.

With more than 1,000 specialists exploring 60 sites between London and Birmingham over two years, HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston said the archaeology work is the largest ever to take place in Britain.

Early finds include prehistoric tools in Buckinghamshire and medieval pottery at the site of a demolished medieval church and burial ground in Stoke Mandeville.

HS2’s head of heritage Helen Wass said “The sheer scale of possible discoveries, the geographical span and the vast range of our history to be unearthed makes HS2’s archaeology programme a unique opportunity to tell the story of Britain.

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Photo: HS2/ MOLA Headland Infrastructure.
Photo: HS2/ MOLA Headland Infrastructure.

“From Prehistoric remnants and Roman settlements to deserted medieval villages, Wars of the Roses battlefields and Victorian innovation, HS2’s archaeology programme has it all.

“This is a very exciting time for archaeology in Britain and we are committed to make sure that HS2’s archaeology programme creates knowledge for further study, engages with communities and leaves behind a lasting archival and skills legacy.”

HS2 will share the finds with local communities through a series of open days and talks and will create a permanent archival legacy of artefacts and discoveries for future generations.

BBC Two has also been granted access to document the project for a four-part TV series, due to air in either 2019 or 2020.

Ahead of construction work beginning in 2019, 2,300 businesses are currently conducting early enabling, professional service or design work on HS2, supporting more than 7,000 roles.

Some of the sites where archaeological work will take place. Photo: HS2.
Some of the sites where archaeological work will take place. Photo: HS2.

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