MOSCOW (AP) _ Fragments from eight birch bark manuscripts have been found during an archaeological dig in northwest Russia, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

The manuscripts, found in Novgorod, date to the 12th century, the news agency reported Sunday.

``The manuscripts are not intact, but their fragments are precious,'' said Valentin Yanin, head of the archaeological expedition that includes the Russian Academy of Sciences and Moscow University.

ITAR-Tass did not say what the expedition was excavating.