Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Ave atque Vale II

As Richard and Martin were on the ferry out to Belgium they caught the end of Henry Allingham's funeral in Brighton on a TV in the ship's lounge. Meanwhile, Harry Patch was buried in Wells while we were actually engaged in work on site.

How poignant to be engaged in a project as the events it investigates pass from memory into history. Harry Patch would have heard, or felt the Messines mines go off, as he was nearby at the time.

We wonder how long it was between the death of the last Roman, Saxon or English medieval monk and the first archaeological excavation of their sites? We feel strangely priveleged to stand on the threshold.

Our work is driven by academic considerations but it also embodies acts of remembrance for in the action of investigation we remember, respect and commemorate the people involved here, of all nationalities and whether in uniform or civilian clothes and in some small way restore them to history by our narratives.

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