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Plugstreet Blog


This is the new blog of the Plugstreet Archaeological Project.


   A Great War themed project exploring sites around Comines-Warneton and Messines in Belgium.    The project is being led by members of No Man's Land - The European Group for Great War    Archaeology and the Comines-Warneton Historical Society.


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More news on the re-burial…find Mat and Michael..

Saturday, October 6th, 2007
 
       

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Many more images of the events surrounding the re-burial of the 5 Australian soldiers are present at this location: http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=10901
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The images are noteworthy not simply for their recording of this event, but also for capturing evidence of Mat and Michael in suits!!! (they appear in two or three images. I’ll leave you to find them…) oh, and what appears to be a Belgian military outside urinal!
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This site also includes images on the Anzac rugby match played as part of the commemorations in Belgium (sadly not featuring either an Australian scrum that possesses a reverse gear, nor a ref that allows forward passes v the New Zealanders!), and of the launch of the Passchendaele Australian walk put together (I think) by Franky and his team with elements of the military railway used by, amongst others, ‘our’ 33rd Btn.

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Re-burial of Australian Soldiers

Friday, October 5th, 2007
 
       

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5 Australian soldiers killed at the battle of Passchendaele were yesterday re-buried at Buttes military cemetery. Their remains had been discovered by Belgian workers laying a pipeline and were recovered by a team lead by Franky Bostyn. DNA analysis has led to two of the individuals being identified. Our Australian film crew that covered the Messines dig filmed the event, hopefully for inclusion in the documentary of our work and Michael and Mat from the dig team were also in attendance. Some newslinks are present below:
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http://news.yahoo.com

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http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/quest-for-identity-laid-to-rest-in-flanders-fields
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http://www.wtopnews.com/

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New Exhibition on 3rd Ypres in London

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007
 
       

Yesterday it was our privilege (as reps of No-Man’s-Land archaeology and the Plugstreet Project) to attend the opening of an exhibition to commemorate the 90th anniversary of 3rd Ypres. This exhibition, in the residence of the Belgian ambassador in Belgrave Square, London, was assembled by Franky (whom many on site will remember as being the chap that brought the crate of beer over on the last day!) and launched by the ambassador and HRH Duke of Kent. In addition to displays of kit in dioramas, and finds from the battlefield, there are some wonderful photographs and sculptures – the latter made from elements of the iron harvest. A link to the exhibition can be found here:
http://www.diplomatie.be/london
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Free to enter and worth a visit!
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Martin and Richard also met Ian Passingham, the author of the excellent ‘Pillars of Fire’ on the Battle of Messines. Ian was most enthusiastic about the team’s work and will visit site next summer. Other archaeologists present were Tony Pollard (1/2 of ‘Two men in a trench’ amongst other things) and Col Philip Robinson from Durand. Another plus was to meet up with Tori and Carla to confirm that they had indeed survived the excavation!

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Elsewhere on the web…

Thursday, August 30th, 2007
 
       

Three members of the project team work at Defence Estates, so the PR staff were interested in what we did in Belgium. Since running a piece on the project for the DE intranet they have expanded the article, added some new photos and had it accepted as a story for the main Ministry of Defence website.
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You can access the story here:
http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/HistoryAndHonour
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Most soldiers will have been on a battlefield tour to the Western Front at some point and many are interested, as are MOD civil servants, for perhaps obvious reasons but it’s great to see the project getting another boost.

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Spirit of Radio

Monday, August 27th, 2007
 
       

Don’t all Rush at once but you can hear the interview Martin did for BBC Radio 5 Live programme Up All Night.
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/programmes/upallnight.shtml
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Under the heading for Tuesday you’ll see at 03:30 Archaeology with Win Scutt and there is a feature marked listed again, so you can hear what was said. Martin says his key points were that we can still find things on pulverised battlefields, that this is a real archaeological story with physical evidence of the effects of war on people and landscape and that No Man’s Land are an international team investigating a common European heritage. As you would expect he also mentioned smoking, food and the Battle of Messines. All in 13 minutes!
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If you do listen let us know what you think via the comments.

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On My Radio…

Monday, August 20th, 2007
 
       

Not the Selector’s Ska classic sadly, rather another media opportunity for the magnificent Plugstreet Project.
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For the insomniac readers who are up at 03:30 UK time tomorrow (Tuesday) morning you can listen to Martin being interviewed on Radio 5 Live about the Plugstreet Project. Thankfully the interview will be done slightly earlier in the evening so Martin might make some sense, but I wouldn’t count on it. Up all night is the umbrella show for the dead zone and there, at 03:30 is our mate Win Scutt and his Archaeology slot. Win is digging at Durrington Walls at the moment so listen out for an update on that exciting project too.
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If you really wanted to hear what he has to say you can probably download it via the “listen Again” feature that many BBC programmes have. To do this you’ll need to go to the BBC webpages at www.bbc.co.uk and follow the links to 5 Live.
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Overseas fans of the project can listen on the internet via the BBC homepage.

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Peter Chasseaud’s panorama drawing looking east from Ultimo Crater

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007
 
       

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Photos of a 3-section panorama drawing I made from the north-east lip of Ultimo Crater, looking east. The coverage is approximately an arc from north-east to south-east. The photo below shows the whole panorama obliquely. The three above show the individual sections in the sequence: left – right – centre. All images Copyright Peter Chasseaud 2007.

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Such panoramas were drawn during the First World War to show the views from observation posts for artillery and intelligence purposes. The drawing was often overlaid with a degree grid, sometimes showing bearings right and left of a centre-line, e.g. Warneton Church. The bearings given on my drawing are very approximate, and the whole thing needs to be recalibrated to give correct bearings.

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Birger’s images

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007
 
       

Birger Stichelbaut, the project’s aerial photographic expert from the University of Ghent, has already produced some aerial images of the excavation trenches. This in addition to his terrestrial photographic skills that his website amply illustrates:
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/birgerstichelbaut
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Plugstreet images by Peter Chasseaud

Sunday, August 12th, 2007
 
       

Here are a couple of images I made while working at St Yvon, Ploegsteert, while on the dig. Does anyone have a photo of me at work drawing, which I can post on my blog? In addition to these two images, I produced, as part of my phenomenology/visibility/intervisibility project several panorama drawings, including one in three sections from the north-east rim of Ultimo Crater looking east towards Warneton, and some of the views from Hull’s Burnt Farm and St Yvon looking towards Factory Farm, Ultra Trench and Ultimo Trench.
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Another part of my work was locating the medieval moat of the old farm relative to the present crater and the pattern of roads, old property boundaries, drainage ditches, etc. Aerial photos from 1915 to 1918 were hugely useful here, and I found that the medieval and early modern boundaries and ditches are still significant features of the landscape today. These, of course, are fundamental for geo-referencing.
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I’m also doing some writing (including poems), which I will post on my blog (http://peterchasseaud.blogspot.com/). You can also see my blog by googling ‘peter chasseaud artist’.

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The image above is Pillars of Fire, and shows the Trench 122 mines being blown on 7 June 1917 under Ultimo Trench (left) and Ultra Trench (Factory Farm, right). The view is from the British front line at Trench 123, opposite Ultimo. [Willow charcoal and pastel on paper. Copyright Peter Chasseaud 2007].

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The image above is Ancient Willow, Factory Farm. [Willow charcoal on paper. Copyright Peter Chasseaud 2007].
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I’ll post some more images, and some writing, in a few days’ time. Images from my Ypres Willows project (2007) and my May 2007 exhibition (the book to accompany this include some of Ultimo and Factory Farm) can be seen on my blog.

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Jean-Michel’s Blog

Thursday, August 9th, 2007
 
       

Tori and Ralph laying the No-Man’s-Land wreath at Ploegsteert, Friday 3rd Aug
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Worth reminding everyone of the blog of Jean Michel Van Elslande. You may all have seen Jean-Michel on site as an important member of both the Comines-Warneton History Society and also the Ploegsteert Memorial Committee. His blog has pictures of the last post ceremony on Friday 3rd August, and also elements of the dig. I commend it to you:
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http://www.vanelslande.org/blog

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