AN excavation has started into a series of Second World War bomb shelters in a Hendon park that have remained hidden more more than 60 years.

Archaeologists began unearthing the bunkers this morning in Sunny Hill Park as part of a two week project exploring the history of the area.

Members of the Hendon and District archaeological society (HADAS), who have been joined by a team from University College London, are aiming to fully uncover at least one of the five shelters that were buried beneath dirt and filled in with rubble in the 1940s.

Dr Gabriel Moshenska has spent months looking through the borough's archives to gather background on the site and has approached Barnet Council for permission to dig up the ground.

He said: “Most of the shelters have been demolished over the years, but these are pretty sturdy looking things.

“People want to see that it is as shelter, although most people don't know they are here.

“It has taken a while for the Second World War to be accepted as archaeology. People want to see the bits from the conflicts such as D-Day or the Battle of Britain and the stuff from the home front doesn't seem so sexy.

“Everything here will tie in with the RAF museum and get a real sense of the park as the centre for the community and a focus of that community for many years.”

From his research Dr Moshenska believes the building of the shelters can be dated “with reasonable certainty” to the period mid-June 1939 to mid-March 1940.

He said Hendon borough council, as it was at the time, was given responsibility to find shelter space for about 17,000 in the area, and built a series of similar structures across eight parks.

The team is hoping to find the shelters in good condition and make them available for the community to learn from.

Mr Moshenska said: “All the schools do the Second World War so it is amazing to have these here so people can come and see them.

“There are still some people who are old enough to remember and they are the last generation who can pass on their memories. It is great when people come back and start telling their story.”

The two week excavation, which will include an open day of archaeology on Sunday in the park, also links in with a trench dig taking place in the grounds of Church Farmhouse Museum, in Greyhound Hill.

Archaelogists working there hope to find evidence of a possible Saxon trench. HADAS chairman Don Cooper, said: “We are looking at the origins of Hendon and it is moving forward quite well.

“It helps the build an understanding of the heritage of the area. What we find here helps create a sense of place and a sense of belonging.

“People seem to like to know about the background of their local area and some come along to remember about their past.”