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Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009
Final day reveals cross surprise
By Jemima Laing
BBC Devon

The cross
The cross will be left undisturbed on its current site

How do you lose a two-metre tall granite cross for more than 700 years?

You might think it would be fairly difficult, but a team of Plymouth archaeologists has recently found a long-lost cross on Dartmoor.

It is thought that it would have once once served as a Christian waymarker or boundary stone.

The City College team, led by Win Scutt and Ross Dean, stumbled on it while surveying a medieval settlement's ruins on the slopes of Gutter Tor, Dartmoor.

No longer upright, the cross was not identified until the final day of the survey.

Alistair Courtney surveys the cross
Archaeological student Alistair Courtney surveys the cross

"We had assumed it was a gatepost until examining the shape of the stone and the incisions," said Win.

"We were bowled over when we realised what it actually was," he said.

Although probably unfinished, the cross has been chiselled from a two-metre-long block of granite.

The head of the cross has three arms, while the shaft is decorated with a long, incised channel.

The cross lies close to the ruins of two medieval long houses that date from the same period.

The survey was being carried out as part of a training exercise for students on the University of Plymouth's Foundation Degree in Archaeological Practice.

And the future for the long-hidden part of Dartmoor's history?

"The discovery will be published in an archaeological journal," said Win.

"The cross will be left undisturbed on its current site."

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