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Badgers moved to protect cemetery

25 October 2007 - BBC News

A badger sett has been moved to stop it damaging a medieval cemetery in Pembrokeshire. The animals were resettled to stop them destroying bones at Brownslade Barrow on the Castlemartin military range. Once they were moved archaeologists were able to examine the site and uncover some of its secrets.

The project has won the Silver Otter Trophy awarded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for conservation work carried out on its land.

Last summer more than 1,000 bones were recovered from the site and analysed at the University of Wales in Lampeter. It had previously been thought that the burial mound dated back to the Bronze Age but research revealed it was still in use in early medieval times.

Polly Groom, an archaeologist with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, said: "The excavation retrieved a huge amount of information about the cemetery itself and about how badger setts affect archaeology. The work on the human bones allowed us to start thinking about how people lived, as well as about their deaths and burials. If the badger sett had been allowed to stay where it was, most of this cemetery would have been lost, denying us this opportunity to learn about an early medieval population."

The MoD's Sanctuary magazine, which made the award, said the project "demonstrated highly effective partnership working".

Ms Groom added: "We're delighted that everyone's hard work has been recognised with this award. This involved a huge number of people and the archaeology which was uncovered is absolutely first-class, important to Pembrokeshire, Wales and the UK."

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