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Engineers have said they were "stunned" to unearth a 17th Century cottage, complete with a mummified cat, during a construction project in Lancashire. The cottage was discovered near Lower Black Moss reservoir in the village of Barley, in the shadow of Pendle Hill. Archaeologists brought in by United Utilities to survey the area found the building under a grass mound. Historians are now speculating that the well-preserved cottage could have belonged to one of the Pendle witches. The building contained a sealed room, with a mummified cat bricked into the wall. It is believed the cat was buried alive to protect the cottage's inhabitants from evil spirits. 'Tutankhamen's tomb' Carl Sanders, United Utilities' project manager, said: "It's not often you come across a fairytale cottage complete with witch's cat. "The building is in remarkable condition. You can walk through it and get a real sense that you're peering into the past. "Even before we discovered the building, there were lots of jokes from the lads about broomsticks and black cats. The find has really stunned us all." Simon Entwistle, an expert on the Pendle witches, said: "In terms of significance, it's like discovering Tutankhamen's tomb. "We are just a few months away from the 400th anniversary of the Pendle witch trials, and here we have an incredibly rare find, right in the heart of witching country. This could well be the famous Malkin Tower - which has been a source of speculation and rumour for centuries.