New RAF housing site could be history's hiding ground
By Tech. Sgt. Scott Wakefield , Detachment 4, Air Force News Agency
/ Published December 12, 2006
ROYAL AIR FORCE MILDENHALL, United Kingdom (AFPN) --
RAF Mildenhall is beginning a new housing construction project to add more units to the officer housing area. But, before they break ground, the building site must go through a preliminary dig to ensure any possible objects of archeological significance that may be found are properly uncovered and preserved.
The United Kingdom requires all construction projects go through this dig to ensure no historical artifacts are destoyed. Most U.S. bases in the UK lie in areas considered archeologically sensitive. The area is known as East Anglia where civilizations dating back 4,000 years settled. These past communities are now preserved just beneath the soil.
Project officer John Craven has been working on these digs for the past 12 years. He considers it his full-time job to preserve the history in the area.
"Until we actually look, we don't know how good it may be, it could be something really quite exceptional buried just below the surface," Mr. Craven said.
Past projects, have uncovered the remains of an Anglo-Saxon male with shield and spear, buried with his bridled horse at RAF Lakenheath and Roman coins, pottery and human remains were discovered at a dig on RAF Mildenhall. These are significant finds that tell a lot about the area.
Minor finds are normally taken to museums in the local area around the bases, while major ones will go to national museums. The horse with bridle and tack was loaned to a museum in Kentucky for awhile, due to the state's significance to horse racing, said Mr. Craven.Comment on this story (include name, location, and rank if applicable)