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Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

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The long-anticipated dig to unearth a cache of brand-new Spitfires that are believed to be buried in Burma is expected to start on Jan. 12, local press has reported. According to The Irrawaddy, archeologists first will spend about a week studying the site, then the digging can begin. Up to 36 pristine Spitfires, still in the packing crates they were delivered in near the end of World War II, are expected to be found. David Cundall, who located the burial site, said he has confirmed the airplanes are there by sending a camera through a borehole. "We went into a crate, you can see an object which resembles a Spitfire," he said.

The British troops buried the airplanes when they left Burma in 1945, Cundall said, because they didn't want to take them home but also didn't want anyone else to use them. The crates were tarred and placed on massive teak timbers to assist drainage, and a wooden roof was placed over the crates to protect them, Cundall said. The crates are buried about 30 feet deep in an area close to a runway at Mingaladon Airport in Rangoon. Cundall also has permission to excavate two other sites in Burma. At one of those sites, Cundall said he expects to find up to six crated Mark 8 Spitfires, a rare variation with only one copy still flying.

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