Work on the largest archaeological dig in Europe has commenced on the site of HS2.
Part of the enabling works for HS2, the archaeological dig will take approximately two years and enlist the expertise of in excess of 1,000 archaeologists, specialists, scientists and conservators from all over the UK.
They will explore 10,000 years of British history, recording more than 60 archaeological sites for the project.
Europe’s largest archaeological dig will explore sites ranging from Prehistoric and Roman Britain to the Anglo-Saxon and Medieval periods, and the Industrial Revolution and World War Two.
Central to the preparation works for the first phase of the large scale infrastructure project, the dig will provide fascinating insight into the lives of those people and their communities who made modern Britain.
The first phase of work on HS2 will see a new railway line constructed to connect London to Birmingham; the preparation work for this phase is well underway, with contractors and the supply chain already clearing sites ahead of the start of the main construction work next year.
But the site is of huge historical significance and as such, archaeologists are necessary to make sure that the site is cleared to a highly professional standard, leaving a lasting legacy.
Already, prehistoric tools have been found in Buckinghamshire, medieval pottery in Stoke Mandeville, as well as two Victorian time capsules.
More discoveries are expected, as archaeologists delve into our past.
Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “How we build HS2 is as important to us as what we are building and we are committed to sharing as much of our cultural heritage as possible.
“Before we bore the tunnels, lay the tracks and build the stations, an unprecedented amount of archaeological research is now taking place between London and Birmingham.
“This is the largest archaeological exploration ever in Britain, employing a record number of skilled archaeologists and heritage specialists from across the UK and beyond.
“As well as improving connectivity, generating 30,000 new jobs and creating a network of new wildlife habitats, our archaeology programme shows that HS2 is more than a railway; it’s an opportunity to tell the story of our past, create opportunities in the present and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.”