Thursday, 20 December 2007

Christmas Listening

Art in The Trenches
BBC Radio 4
Boxing Day (26th December 2007)
11.02 UK time

The programme includes a major contribution from anthropologist Nick Saunders on the subject of Trench Art. Nick is a key member of the Plugstreet Project team. It also includes a number of No Man's Land members talking about the group's other major excavation at Thiepval Wood on the Somme.

If you are unable to hear it then go to:

Happy listening and if you do listen to it why not post a comment about it?

Match of the Day

Christmas draweth if we didn't know it.

Christmas moves the thoughts of many of us to that moment in 1914 when elements of the armies facing each other along the Western Front declared local, unofficial truces between them. Famously officers hosted their opponents for dinner, German barbers set up shop in no man's land and the world's strangest, most inspirational football international took place. I met someone who had interviewed a veteran who'd been involved in one of these matches and he said that the Germans won on penalties!

You know all this. What you may not know is that the truce didn't take place everywhere but it did take place at Ploegsteert, in fact Bruce Bairnsfather records it in trenches immediately north of our site. Is it possible that the fields we traversed during our work saw the Match of the Day 1914?

So may the Peace of 1914 be yours at Christmas, especially to readers in "hot spots", dear reader, and good things follow you through the year. This blog will be resting over the Festive Season but will be back shortly with exciting news, such as the 2008 season and our plans to dig more holes, as well as conferences, lectures and miniature battlefields that are connected with the project. The mini battlefield isn't a wargame by the way but I can say no more now.

Happy Christmas
Frohe Weinachts
Joyeux Noel
Goioe Kerstmis (I think that's right for Flemish)

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The results from the Magnetometer survey are now delivered as an early Christmas present by the Colonel, and pretty special they are! The front line runs from top left to lower right with a splodge representing the crater from the mine explosion (now home to a badger) being present in front (to the right) of the front line near the top of the main rectangle of the survey. Interestingly, there is clear evidence for a T-head runnning from this as part of practice of crater fortification. This equates well with Dan's excavation trench at Messines. All manner of Saps and Comms trenches are also visible. There is a clear need for a small, targeted excavation we think....

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Back to the Bustard

Last week Peter AKA The Colonel came down to Salisbury Plain to work some more of his geophysical magic. He undertook three days of magnetometer survey over part of the trench system dug and used by Anzac 3 Division during their training ahead of their deployment to France and, ultimately, to Messines. Among the exercise was the blowing, capture and refortification of a mine. Admittedly the mine was much smaller than the Ultimo Mine but they seem to have refortified it in just the same way as we saw in Dan's trench last summer.

As sson as Peter has sent me his results I will post them here! Interestingly they show again that this is the technique to use when looking for buried trenches. "Mag" certainly seems quicker and more productive than resistivity.

What this survey means is that we have an accurate plot of the remains and can target some more excavation to see if we can get more comparative data between Belgium and the training ground here in UK.

Watch this space!