Wednesday, 8 August 2007
So here we are, the core of the team, including the field archaeologists, conservators, artist, geophysicist and anthropologist. Missing are Patrick and Nicolas, as well as a number of other locals, and Gontrand who was sorting out his Para-Commando veterans following their parade at the Last Post Ceremony. Also present with the group are our two Australian guests, Matt McLachlan (author) and Michael Molkentin (historian) who joined us on site with a film crew from ABC. We wait to see whether their recording of our work will make it to a final cut documentary.
We are standing in front of the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing, where we were honoured to take part and lay a wreath on behalf of the group. Our wreath party included Tori, who has a great uncle on the memorial and Ralph who is our expert on German military history. The Australian Defence Force also laid a wreath and were represented by Lt Col Paul Smith.
It is an odd thing to excavate a site and then to attend ceremonial at a monument to the Fallen, some of whom may lie in the fields where we had been working. This is one of the odd dynamics of working in contemporary archaeology, as is the possibility of idnetifying any skeletons. As it was, we didn't find any bodies.