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Short Straw Drawn

Short Straw Drawn

By David Hall

Archaeologists on a dig in East Africa have announced an unexpected discovery. The team uncovered what they had initially thought was a bit of old clay pipe. Only later, when archaeological illustrator, Alec Riley set to work documenting the find, did it emerge that he had drawn the elusive ‘Short Straw’.

The straw, which measures just 4.8cm, was found buried alongside three other straws, all measuring 7.2cm. “It’s certainly short.” said Riley, whose drawings are currently en route to the British Museum, “We are still waiting for final confirmation that it is shorter than the previous straw, but we’re delighted with the discovery.”

All being well, Riley's
illustrations - and the straw - will be on public display from next week, alongside the Needle from a Haystack.

Cambridge professor, Michael Hayden had orginally laid claim to the Short Straw in July 2005, following a dig in neighbouring Kenya, but the find was dismissed by leading experts in the field.

The straw’s whereabouts were announced late last night at the dig in the fossil-rich area of Piedmont, close to where Lucy was discovered in 1974. Hayden, whose work was discredited on the basis of fudged data was heard to mutter something to the effect of this being the final straw.

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05 Aug 2010
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