THE EARTH GIVES UP ITS SECRETS
Many interesting archaeological remains have been discovered as a result of
the minerals industry's extractive world and it is also a major funder of
archaeological digs. It is industry practice to give archaeologists access
to sites where interesting remains are revealed.
Preservation is often excellent because of the damp conditions frequently
linked to quarrying and mining, and archaeologists appreciate the exposure
of large areas of landscape rather than 'keyhole' exploration ditches which
are dug where remains are thought to be.
Over recent years the aggregates sector alone has committed over UKP10
million to archaeology.
Examples of rare finds include:
* Boxgrove Man
A disused gravel pit in Sussex was, in 1993, the site of the discovery of
the oldest human remains found in Europe. The shin bone was revealed, as
were perfectly formed flint hand tools dating back over half a million years.
* Stanwick Roman Villa
A substantial villa estate with associated settlement of cottages and
agricultural buildings was revealed in the Nene Valley, Northants. ARC's
quarry has opened up the overlay which developed from an Iron Age
settlement and has allowed a detailed analysis of the transition from Iron
Age to Roman times.
* Christian Roman graveyard
Around 30 bodies were recently discovered at Castle Cement's quarry at
Ketton, Lincolnshire, in a wooden mausoleum. It has been described as an
exceptional example of a Christian Roman graveyard and includes children's
skeletons. Remains of buildings were also found.
* Saxon Helmet
A rare boar-crested Saxon helmet, only the second found in Britain, was
unearthed at pioneer Aggregates' Earls Barton sand and gravel quarry at
Wollaston near Wellingborough. It was found together with other trappings
of a high-born warrior. It is now in the Royal Armouries in Leeds and will
be loaned to the British Museum later this year.
* Farms and Vineyards
Three Iron Age and two Roman farms have been discovered at Wollaston Quarry
and, more important, a Roman vineyard which would have allowed for
production of about 15,000 bottles of white wine a year. It was confirmed
when buried vine pollen was found and analysed.
For more information please contact
Vivien Martin on 01491 410987
or see http://www.minerals98.com
[Minerals '98 is an industry partnership initiative coordinated by the
Confederation of British Industry]