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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Time Team expert helps Hanson uncover the past

Phil Harding

Phil Harding thanks team at company’s Dagenham site for active archaeological involvement

FORMER Time Team archaeologist Phil Harding (centre of photo) helped hunt for prehistoric fossils and archaeological artefacts in gravel dredged from the North Sea on a recent visit to Hanson’s Dagenham marine aggregates site.

Regular cargo monitoring, which is carried out by Wessex Archaeology, is essential to maintain dredging in area 240, which is located around 12 miles off the coast of Great Yarmouth in East Anglia.

The zone is internationally important due to the large number of finds – such as hand axes, flints, and mammoth bones – that have been uncovered since 2011, which indicate early man was living and hunting there around 300,000 years ago.

‘At that time, it was dry land with rivers; now it’s 25m below sea level,’ said Hanson Marine resources manager Dr Nigel Griffiths.

‘Phil was visiting as part of his role with Wessex Archaeology and wanted to thank members of the site team who help arrange the regular inspections and get actively involved, often making important finds.’

Mr Harding attended with two colleagues from Wessex Archaeology, as well as a senior advisor from Historic England, the regulator for marine licences, and spent around five hours checking recent loads with the Hanson team.

‘It’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack, but we did find part of a hand axe and several bone fragments, highlighting the important role responsible marine dredging can play in uncovering our archaeological and historical past,’ added Dr Griffiths.

‘It was a really successful visit and I’m now looking at arranging a trip for the site team to meet some of the experts at the Natural History Museum who evaluate the finds.’

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