A vast battlefield landscape of tunnels and trenches dug to train troops for the first world war has been discovered on army land being cleared for housing.
Archaeologists who worked on the site at Larkhill, in Wiltshire, said the century-old complex was a valuable discovery – although it posed hazards.
“This is the first time anywhere in the world that archaeologists have had the chance to examine, excavate and record such an enormous expanse of first world war training ground,” said Si Cleggett, of Wessex Archaeology. “These men were being trained for the real thing, using live grenades – we know that because we found over 200 grenades in the tunnel and 50% of them proved to be still live. We had to work side by side with experts in dealing with live ordnance, or it could have got very tricky.”