Archaeologists uncover WWI underground village

A HUGE complex of secret tunnels built by Scots soldiers during the First World War has been discovered under a field in Belgium.

Archaeologists searching for the underground headquarters of a British unit found a maze of flooded tunnels covering an area the size of three football pitches.

Using radar technology, the team discovered a once-famous complex of corridors, mess rooms and sleeping quarters known as Vampire Dugout, 40ft under a muddy field near Ypres in Flanders.

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The dugout, named after the band of soldiers who came out at night to resupply the front lines, is believed to be the biggest discovery of its kind.

Historians expect to find a treasure trove of personal belongings, clothes, weapons, bedding and newspapers.

Archaeologists first estimated the bunker would measure 200 metres by 150 metres, but tunnels have been found over an area 800 metres by 600 metres, and its outer limits have not yet been located.

Originally believed to have housed 50 British troops, it is now estimated to have been home to at least 300 soldiers in an underground village.

Speaking from the site, near the village of Zonnebeke, the historian Peter Barton said:

"It's a fantastic archaeological resource, which will tell us more about life in these bunkers than ever before."

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