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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.

A Director writes (2)

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Monday evening, back in the UK, time for a swift resume of the year.
The remarkable start to the season was, of course, Alan Mather’s funeral and the opportunity to meet and make friends with his lovely family – if you’re reading this here are some big hellos and hugs from the other side of the world. The privilege of seeing this part of our research come to such a striking and meaningful end was enormous.
This year we were able to open two separate areas, with two trenches in each. At Ultimo crater we re-opened two trenches from previous years. Avril investigated further areas of her German communication trench and its associated alcove/shelter that seems to have been used as a housing for electrical or telephone equipment. It also included remains of a rudimentary hearth and a small cauldron, so it looks like the German sparks had a constant brew going.
Meanwhile Jon’s team were able to go back into what we though was either a mortar pit or a shallow dugout. However, following a bit more research and a chat with Johan Vandewalle we now think we are looking at a destroyed tunnel, perhaps leading to an incline to a deep dugout.
Over at our new site we looked at two German trenches, one on a piece of the third line of the German A stellung (front defence), and the other looking at a German communication trench running back to it from the second line. Steve and team on the fire trench found evidence of some serious shell damage, as well as some rather older pottery than 1914, showing that this was an old landscape by the time the armies arrived. Kirsty’s team looked at the Comm Trench. It had been created in an older ditch running from a medieval moated site. Both had unusual U shaped concrete ducts or gutters in them.
Meanwhile, the Finds team up at Messines worked on the material we produced and found time to conserve a wonderful Lee-Enfield rifle found during building works at a nearby farm and donated to the local museum in Warneton.
At the same time the two Peters walked miles in the landscape doing, respectively, their geophysics and map work, as well as further project-related art work.
A few Thank You’s:

  • Nelly and Claude at the Auberge Nelly et Claude, Ploegsteert, for friendship and amazing food.
  • The Peace Village Messines for looking after us so well.
  • Liz and Gen for their sponsorship.
  • All our new Australian friends.
  • Both our lovely welcoming farmers! Without whom none of this would happen. A la prochaine…
  • Everyone in the team (including the dog) in whatever role – you made Richard and my lives so much easier and our holiday so relaxed.



3 responses to “A Director writes (2)”

  1. Doug says:

    I thought you would have realised how resourceful us Aussies are by now Richard… German helmets, magic dwarfs… give us something challenging!!

  2. Richard says:

    How on earth did you smuggle him back Doug?!

  3. Doug says:

    A magic dwarf now resides in New England!!

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