Frank Augstein / AP
Britain is carrying out its largest archaeological excavation so far. The construction work was carried out with a multi-billion dollar high-speed rail system to accelerate passengers between the UK's largest cities.
Last week workers in London discovered a traveler from another time when they found the remains of Captain Matthew Flinders. The British explorer cited the first circumnavigation of the continent whose name he would popularize: Australia.
Joyce Gold, Navy Chronicle Office, London / Library of Congress
The announcement was made Friday by HS2, the company that built a more than $ 70 billion rail project that says more than 60 historic sites will be excavated over the next two years. According to HS2, more than 1,000 archaeologists, specialists, scientists and conservators will be involved.
In London, archaeologists worked under a huge makeshift shelter to exhume and transport at least 40,000 human remains from St. James's Gardens, a former burial ground. The gravestone of Flinders had been moved from the cemetery in the 1840s, and his remains had probably been missing.
"Given the number of human remains at St. James, we were not confident that we would find him," said Helen Wass of HS2 in a statement.
Then they discovered an artistically engraved lead plate with a well-preserved and unmistakable inscription: "Capt. Matthew Flinders".
While Flinders' fame has largely faded in the UK, he is still legendary in Australia. The Guardian reports:
"As the first person who has orbited the continent and made his name popular, Flinders is a figure of national importance in Australia, where a mountain range, two national parks, a university in Adelaide and one of the main streets of Melbourne, among others, named after him, said the country's High Commissioner for Britain, George Brandis, "the discovery of his remains is a matter of great importance to Australia."
Flinders joined in 1789 at the age of 15 years in the British Royal Navy. A few years later, he was sent to present-day Sydney, where he was interested in the geography of the region. He returned to Britain and successfully completed a circumnavigation of the land mass, whose full extent was still unknown to his compatriots in the opinion of the Royal Museums Greenwich. They note that the Flinders expedition, which lasted from 1801 to 1803, was one of the first to seek lands for the expansion of the colonial power.
The region was known as "Terra Australis Incognita" or "Unknown South" according to the National Library of Australia, later named "New Holland" by Dutch researchers, but after Flinders' expedition he wrote "Australia" on a card and the name stuck.
James O Jenkins / HS2
While Flinders received recognition for the trip, he was accompanied along the way by an indigenous man named Bungaree, according to Australian broadcaster ABC. Bungaree, an interpreter and guide, was also the first Australian to sail around the continent.
"Aboriginal history is overlooked in Australia There are many Aboriginal people who have also been great explorers and [alongside Matthew Flinders] a native professor of archeology Claire Smith told the ABC that she works at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia she found numerous monuments to the British explorer.
"Even if we had statues of the great Aborigines who fought for land rights, they worked together early with humans, Europeans. In the explorations this would change our awareness of Australia," she added.
The expedition offered Flinders the opportunity to work on a more personal project, the BBC reports, saying he could complete a biography of his beloved journey companion, a cat by the name of Trim.
One by Prince William in the 2014 unveiled in London statue of the discoverer Flinders, who crouched beside a map of Australia , Trim. In the biography, Flinders says Trim disappeared unexpectedly, suspecting that the cat was eaten by a starving slave.
Flinders, on the other hand, is being buried at a location yet to be determined, says HS2.