Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Great War Burials

According to today's BBC web pages the bodies of a number of Lancashire Fusiliers will be buried today with full military honours:

The men all fell during World War One and one of them has been identified as Private Richard Lancaster of the 2nd Battalion, who was killed near the dig site. The men are to be buried in Prowse Point Cemetery, en route to site. I imagine this means we will call in to pay our respects during the dig.

The BBC have also published a photograph of Mr Lancaster on the net. This is always something I find remarkable and difficult - in more normal archaeology is is far from usual to see the face of the person one has carefully exhumed but I have now had the experience of seeing the face Jakob Hones, who I helped recover in 2003. The frisson is remarkable but it really punches home the responsibility the excavator has to seek out each clue that might lead to a positive identification. If you want to know more about Jakob Hones then go to the No Man's Land pages and then look at the links.

Some people think the dead of the War should be left where they are but in an age of major development and agri-business that isn't an option so what you are left with is a responsibility to do the best job possible and to be respectful of the person in front of you as you try to recover their earthly remains and the artefacts that can help identify them.

Cheery stuff but at least you now know it's not digging folk up for fun!

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