Battlefields in areas that are either well tilled or part of an urban landscape will be tidied up pretty soon after the event. Watching film of The Great War always makes one astonished that the trench line from the Channel to the Swiss Border has been so generally effaced even ninety years on.

The Western Desert is rather different. Being a desert, no one has had much inclination to complete the tidying up process. This story, which is a genuine good news story, reminds us that there will probably, given the arid and dessicating nature of the sands, be more such discoveries in the centuries to come: out there must still lie trucks, tanks, crashed aircraft and other impedimenta of war that have lain untouched since the moment of conflict, islands of history in the landscape.

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