Thursday, 15 November 2007

The Serre Memorial

I mentioned the Serre memorial to the chaps NML found in 2003. It was made by Keith Maddison from the group and stands by the road in front of the site of the German position known as the Heidenkopf. It comemmorates Jakob Hones and Albert Thielecke, both killed in 1915 during the Battle of Hebuterne and an unknown man from the King's Own killed on 1st July 1916.
This picture shows the memorial on the day of its unveiling.

Of Things Past

It's now almost a week since Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday. Of late this has meant that the nation thinks of the Great War, probably more than anything else and the TV underlined this with programmes about Jack Kipling and Wilfred Owen.

The Owen programme was interesting as it included land at Serre where Martin and several other of the NML members were involved in a dig in 2003 that was seeking a dugout occupied by Owen. The story of the project is on the No Man's Land website and will shortly appear in the Journal of Conflict Archaeology. Sadly they didn't mention the archaeology, nor the rather nice memorial that NML member and Plugstreet digger made to commemorate the three men we discovered. This brings us back to 11/11, of course because of the emotions evoked by the knowledge that we have excavated these men and in two cases restored them to their families. We found no identifiable remains at Plugstreet this year but in Steve L's trench the absence of remains was probably a testament to the destructive power of the mine. Whatever the case we know that we are in a place where men fell and died and where there are still missing bodies across the landscape. I am also confident that when we do find our first skeleton we will be approaching the excavation in a professional and respectful manner.

Friday, 2 November 2007

The Spreading Word

As you know Richard and Martin recently went to an event at the Belgian Embassy (thanks to Franky Bostyn). They took along a number of short interim reports on the project to leave for interested parties to take away.

Lo and Behold! Some kind soul has scanned it and put it on the web here:

We say thank you to the Leinster Regiment Association for giving us another outlet for the story. The Leinsters were part of 16 Division, who stormed Wytschaete (White Sheet) during the Battle of Messines while the Anzacs were busy around, or possibly creating, our dig site.

Also on the topic of spreading the word Martin has been out and about this week lecturing to post-grads at Liverpool University and to the lovely Forensic Archaeology students at Cranfield University. Both groups got an introduction to the Plug Street Project as part of wider discussions on Great War archaeology and some of them may join the team in 2008.

The Sincerest Form

We broke new ground with the project blog for this project, giving you up to date information on the planning and then offering news from the front line. It's nice to see another group following our lead in disseminating information about a Great War project.

If you want to read about the Great Arab Revolt Project in Jordan go here:

It's the archaeology of the Arab insurgency against the Turks (Lawrence of Arabia stuff). How topical!

It's led by friends of ours and members of our team (Nick Saunders mostly) are out there.

Good Luck Guys!