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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.

Opening of the Plugstreet Interpretation Centre

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

Today a number of our team are attending the opening of the new Interpretation Centre at Ploegsteert.
A video clip from No Tele showing part of the display is available at
Ploegsteert: inauguration de Plugstreet

A few photos from the opening ceremony are available on the Ploegsteert Blog
The new website for the new centre will be:
Plugstreet 14-18 experience


Our work on Cannock Chase

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Last night 21st October 2013, Inside Out West Midlands featured our work on the Cannock Chase Model of Messines. If you missed it you can catch it on iPlayer until next Monday. Inside Out on iPlayer

Further information and photos from our site are available on the Great War Cannock Blog


Preparing for the Cannock Chase excavation

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

This week members of our team are preparing for our excavation at Cannock Chase. In addition to updates on this blog, the dig has it’s own blog Great War archaeology on Cannock Chase


Operation Kiwi

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

For our 2013 Season we will be undertaking work a little closer to home, but with a strong link to our work at Plugstreet. Between the 7th and 29th of September 2013, No Man’s Land will be working with Staffordshire County Council to excavate the Messines Model on Cannock Chase.

During the Great War significant training camps and attendant facilities were established on Cannock Chase. These included two Divisional training camps, roads, railways, power station, ranges, training trenches and instructional models.

One of the most unusual Great War features identified is a scale model of a sector of the Western Front. Such models are known from Allied Reserve areas where they were used for instructional purposes ahead of an offensive. A well-known example was created south of Ypres in advance of the 1917 Battle of Messines, and the Australian War Memorial holds a number of photographs of troops inspecting the model. A second example is said to have been created ahead of the Battle of Cambrai (Peter Simkins, pers. comm.) also from 1917. However, neither model is believed to have survived and, more significantly, no other examples are known from the UK.

The Cannock model is believed to have been constructed by members of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (NZRB) who captured the village of Messines during the battle. The model is known to have survived into the inter-war years when it became a tourist attraction with an attendant who acted as guide to the site. With the onset of World War II, and the return of military training to the Chase the site became overgrown and was lost.

We are looking for volunteers to join us for this unique opportunity, please telephone 0121 449 6563 or email cannockwwiexcavations@gmail.com to register your interest and book a place.



Monday, July 29th, 2013

The entire project team would like to extend their congratulations to Avril and James MacNaughton, two of the core team at Plugstreet, on the occasion of their wedding in Chandler Arizona on Saturday 27th August 2013. With our best wishes for a long and happy life together.


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