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UK heatwave reveals long-hidden archaeological sites buried underground

Friday July 13, 2018 - 11:09 EST

The heatwave that has gripped the United Kingdom in recent weeks has led to drought and parched fields across much of the nation.

The dry conditions also revealed long-hidden archaeological sites buried underground.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) released aerial pictures of crop markings that show a large number of underground ancient sites.

The crop marks showed prehistoric settlements and Bronze Age barrows across the Llyn Peninsula in parts of north Wales, the RCAHMW said on their website.



"A newly discovered early medieval cemetery of square barrows seen in the south Gwynedd is a very rare monument type for Wales," the RCAHMW said.

"There was a surprise in the Vale of Glamorgan where severe drought at a known prehistoric settlement showed new cropmarks of a Roman villa within its modified ramparts."

The crop markings become apparent after greener vegetation, drawing on moisture trapped in the fortification ditches of the old sites, standing out among the brown, dryer vegetation.

Senior aerial investigator Dr Toby Driver spent hours flying over the crop marks and documenting the findings.

"I've not seen conditions like this since I took over the archaeological flying at the Royal Commission in 1997," Dr Driver told RCAHMW.

"So much new archaeology is showing it is incredible; the urgent work in the air now will lead to months of research in the office in the winter months to map and record all the sites which have been seen, and reveal their true significance."

Much of Britain has been experiencing a heatwave and unusually dry weather since June.


- ABC

© ABC 2018

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