Page last updated at 09:27 GMT, Sunday, 31 August 2008 10:27 UK

Medieval canals spotted from air

Archaeologists have found what they have described as a "breathtaking engineering project" in Lincolnshire.

Almost 60 miles of medieval canals, possibly built by monks to ferry stone, have been identified in the Fens.

Although the canals were up to 40ft wide they have filled up with silt and are now only visible from the air.

Experts said the network of waterways represented an achievement not matched until the Industrial Revolution 300 years later.

Viking raiders

Martin Redding, of the Witham Valley Archaeology Research Committee, discovered the canals using aerial photographs.

"They have been completely infilled by later deposits that have been brought in by flooding eight hundred years.

He added: "These canals are important because they represent a breathtaking engineering project.

"Just think of the skilled engineers, surveyors and huge workforce this scheme would have needed."

Mr Redding said more study was needed but speculated that the canals could have been started as a way of transporting stone to rebuild monastic sites devastated in Viking raids.




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