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HS2 Euston dig uncovers Captain Flinders' remains

The lost remains of Captain Matthew Flinders have been discovered during excavation work at the site of Euston’s High Speed 2 (HS2) site.

Archaeologists were able to identify the former Royal Navy explorer – who led the first circumnavigation of Australia and is credited with giving the country its name – by the lead breast plate placed on top of his coffin.

Following the expansion of Euston station westwards into part of the burial ground in 1840s, Flinders’ headstone was removed and it was thought that his remains had been lost. For a long time, there was an urban myth that Captain Flinders was buried under platform 15.

HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston said: “The discovery of one of Britain’s most significant explorers helps us tell stories of our past as we prepare to build a high speed rail network that is an important part of our future.

“Before we bore the tunnels, lay the tracks and build the stations, an unprecedented amount of archaeology is now taking place between London and Birmingham.”

Ground clearing works and demolition of existing structures has begun on the site to make way for the HS2 Euston station concourse and tracks.

However, HS2 Ltd has still to award the construction partner contract for its Euston and Old Oak Common stations in London.

The contracts were scheduled to be awarded at the end of last year, but HS2 Ltd has confirmed that they will now be awarded in the first quarter of this year. HS2 Ltd has given no reason for the delay.

New Civil Engineer reported in September last year that two joint ventures were in the running for Euston Station.

New Civil Engineer understands that HS2 Ltd is in advanced talks with a Costain/Skanska joint venture (JV) and the JV between Mace and Spain’s Dragados for the £1.65bn Euston station job. This means that the Ferrovial/Bam Nuttall joint venture will miss out.  

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