Friday 17th February 2012
Archaeologists called to the scene found the skeletal remains in the same positions the men had been in at the time of the collapse. Some were discovered sitting upright on a bench, one was lying in his bed and another was in the foetal position, having been thrown down a flight of stairs. Workers were able to recover 13 of the bodies, but the remaining eight were left behind for fear of new mudfalls.
With very little light, water or even air penetrating the site, many items were extremely well-preserved. Boots, helmets, weapons, wine bottles, spectacles, wallets, pocket books and even the skeleton of a goat were found – this last assumed to have been present for the purpose of providing fresh milk for the men. Archaeologists also uncovered the wooden sides, floors and stairways of the shelter, big enough to shelter 500 men and occupied by the 6th Company, 94th Reserve Infantry Regiment.
The team has already completed some tests on the mermaid, and believe that until 1982 it was twinned with a merman at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, in London. They have also concluded that the mermaid’s hair is human, while the upper body is layered upon a structure of wood and wire. The teeth are carved bone while the eyes are mollusc shells, although the composition of the torso is yet to be determined. Monkey, often used in these cases, has been ruled out. The mermaid will be reunited with her mer-mate for an exhibition at the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery
from 19 March–13 May 2012.
Archaeologists have discovered that an underwater site near Bouldnor is an 8,000-year-old boat-building site.
The Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology has been working on the site since 1999, but has only recently uncovered evidence that pieces previously thought to have belonged to a single boat are actually part of a much larger and more important discovery. The boatyard, which sheds new light on the day-to-day lives of people in the Mesolithic period, has been preserved by silt in the water, and is attracting international interest.
The campaign to reopen former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath's Salisbury home as a tourist attraction has been given a boost by the backing of Lord Geoffrey Howe.
Arundells, the historic house in Cathedral Close where Sir Edward Heath lived for the last 20 years of his life, was left to the nation and opened to the public in 2008. It is currently closed despite attracting more than 45,000 visitors in less than four years, after trustees of the Edward Heath Charitable Foundation maintained that it was not financially viable. In a letter to the council supporting the application to reopen Arundells, Lord Howe said it was “important for these symbols of our recent political history not to be destroyed. I have in mind, as a parallel, the former home in France of their comparable political leader, General de Gaulle.”