Friday, 1 June 2007

Family Ties

We asked the team for their family connections to the Great War and to the area where we will be working this morning and already have had a few responses so far including grandfathers in the Royal Garrison Artillery, relatives in a number of Scottish units, a medic and a number of Australian connections. However the tie so far for the best connections is between an ancestor pinned down by De Valera's men during the Easter Rising in Dublin 1916 and another who served in a Hapsburg Viennese regiment.

This question of connection is a more serious issue than my introduction suggests. In researching Great War sites we are entering a relatively recent and well-documented period from which some of us can still remember our own family members who served. In recognising our own family connections we must interrogate our motivations for seeking to enter the world they inhabited during their service - what makes us want to do this? We must also recognise that the project may elicit responses different to those we would have on more traditional archaeological sites. In acknowledging our connections we can factor them into our responses to the processes of excavation, interpretation and dissemination. We can also recognise that we may develop a feelig of ownership for places or events that may not be appropriate in academic discourse. Or is is in appropriate?

More on this subject as we go forward, no doubt.

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