A vintage summer for new discoveries

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They may have been bad for gardeners, but the dry early weeks of the summer have made 2010 a vintage year for archaeology, English Heritage said yesterday.

The body said it had been able to photograph hundreds of "cropmark" sites from the air. The marks are produced when crops growing over buried features develop at a different rate from those growing next to them.

A Roman camp near Bradford Abbas, Dorset, was found in June after three sides became visible in rain-parched fields of barley. The lightly built defensive enclosure would have provided basic protection for Roman soldiers while on manoeuvres in the first century AD and is one of only four discovered in the South-west of England.

The dry conditions also allowed well known sites to be photographed in greater detail.

Newton Kyme, near Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, was shown not only to be home to a Roman fort dating back 2,000 years but also a larger, stronger defence built in AD290. Stone walls up to 3 metres thick and a ditch 15 metres wide were revealed by an image taken from a Cessna light aircraft.

Flights over the Holderness area of the East Riding of Yorkshire proved particularly productive with around 60 new sites, mainly prehistoric, found in just one day, including livestock and settlement enclosures.

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