Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Back to the Bustard

Monday 2nd June and we were joined on Salisbury Plain by a team of Bristol University students, ably led by Nick Saunders. They have joined us to spend a week digging on the site of the Anzac 3rd Division training trenches at The Bustrad on Salisbury Plain. The site takes it's name from the large bird and from the nearby pub named after it.

In 1916 the Australian soldiers took over, adapted amd trained in a series of trenches dug on Salisbury Plain to instruct and inform soldiers in the practice of trench diggin, maintenance, routine and life. The Australians are known to have spent days and nights in the trenches familiarising themselves with trench life. They are known to have been involved in exercises with live fire and the blowing of a small mine, which they seem then to have "captured" and fortified, just as they were to do at Ultimo crater, during the Battle of Messines.

The dig is designed to do a number of things. It will see what can be discerned in the archaeological record of the activities of these and other soldiers. The dig will also assess the survivial and condition of the remains. Information gained here will add to the picture of preparation for War in 1916/17.

Richard and Martin led an NML team here in 2005 but since then there has been neither opportunity nor resources to return so the help given by Bristol is invaluable.

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