Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Across the site

Although incredibly powerful, the find of the Australian soldier was not the only part of the site this year. The team also worked very hard to accomplish many other elements. Even more of the battle site was subject to geophysical survey and four other trenches were opened. These showed:

1) the complete plan of the German bunker seen in part last year

2) more of the Lewis gun position on the eastern lip of Ultimo crater

Avril records the Lewis gun post

3) a major wriggly-tin-lined redoubt was located on the south edge of Ultimo crater

Moving into the redoubt
4) at some depth, a massively-engineered timber structure was encountered. Large timbers were found revetted with timber uprights. A gas cape or similar was present here too. Is this a dugout? A German trench mortar position? Something else? Whatever it is, the timbers all appear to have been pushed over in one direction - the blast of the mine?

Keith and Jon working with the German feature

What they Carried

In addition to all the military elements that the Australian soldier had with him, there were some other effects.

His toothbrush - Flexadent France

His wallet - some French Francs clearly 1916 dated

His spoon (with razor on the top)
Finds like these added still more to the overall picture of the man.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Dogs in Hats

This post is more serious than it sounds from the title. I have been considering the pickelhaub we found with the body and in an effort to find out more information about it went here:


Yes, there are pictures of dogs in hats and, indeed, helmets on it but it contains lots of lovely information about spiked headgear and the like.

Essentially our man had acquired a Hessian helmet. We had wondered if the fluted spike and fishscale chinstrap were indicative of rank and status but it appears that all Hessians had this style, although the scales differed in some cases, with Dragoons apparently having rounded scales.

Very useful.