PREPARATIONS for this year's celebrations of Salisbury Cathedral's 750th anniversary have continued apace, with an archaeological dig taking place inside the cathedral to allow a new specially-designed font to be installed.

The purpose of the dig is to ascertain whether the reservoir, pump housing, water supply and drainage for the new font, which was designed by William Pye, can be installed under the cathedral's floor.

It is believed that when the main body of the Cathedral was completed in 1258 the nave may have been paved in Purbeck Marble. Records state that this was replaced in 1878, at a cost of £1250, during the restoration work undertaken by Sir George Gilbert Scott.

The archaeological explorations being undertaken will investigate any surviving evidence of an earlier floor, record any burial features found below the floor and attempt to tie them to the adjacent ledger slabs, which themselves may have been moved when the floor was relaid in 1878.

The archaeologists will also open up the area so that the elements for the new font can be installed with minimum impact on any archaeological deposits.

The work is being undertaken by Cambrian Archeaological Projects, an independent professional practice, and will be completed in time for the font to be in place and operational by the 750th anniversary celebrations in September.