British Prime Minister David Cameron is believed to have discussed the recovery of the aircraft during a trade visit to Myanmar earlier this year.
In the event, with a 50% share in whatever is dug up, Myanmar’s cooperation is not entirely altruistic.
There are only about 40 airworthy Spitfires left in the world, and with models in good condition commanding prices of several million pounds each, Cundall is potentially sitting on a fortune.
However, what condition the haul will be in after decades immersed in tropical soil remains to be seen.
“Unlike some aircraft which suffered terribly from the heat and humidity, Spitfires had a very good reputation for reliability,” said John Delaney, collections manager at Britain’s Imperial War Museum in Duxford, eastern England which has several vintage military aircraft.
“But what kind of condition they’re in now depends on how well they were packed.”
Cundall says he’s unconcerned by their exact state.
“It’s like opening a can of 67-year-old beans. It’s not going to be at its best, but if you’re hungry, you’ll eat it.”
Project archaeologists are at pains to point out that no physical evidence has been uncovered yet.
Neither is there any obvious reason why an air force should take the trouble to pack and bury a near-obsolete model of aircraft. Even lead archaeologist Andy Brockman concedes it might all turn out to be an elaborate wild goose chase.