Ground Penetrating Radar

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
 
       

The Project team want to say a very big thanks to Geomatrix and to their owner Chris Leech.
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The company (Geomatrix Earth Science Ltd) offers one of the largest hire pools of near surface geophysical instrumentation in Europe. They are exclusive sales representatives for many of the leading geophysical instrument and software manufacturers. Their instruments are world renowned for their emphasis on providing high data quality and instrument reliability in the most arduous of field conditions (which now includes former battlefields).
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Geomatrix are loaning us GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) equipment to help us survey the British line, and to have a look at Jon’s German position, that we started to excavate last year.
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We welcome Geomatrix as the first Corporate Sponsor of the Plugstreet Project and welcome their contribution to our on-going research into both the battlefield itself and into the use of geophysics on this sort of site.
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We hope to be able to post results of the survey soon, so you can see their amazing kit in action.
www.geomatrix.co.uk

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Back Into The Line

Sunday, March 15th, 2009
 
       

On Friday a small party of us will be going out to Belgium.
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Last year during ploughing the tenant discovered the remains of a British concrete bunker. Unsurprisingly he wasn’t happy about a bent plough and a load of rubble in the potato field so plans to remove it. Fortunately the landowner told us that this will happen and has given us the opportunity to undertake rescue recording of the bunker and do a limited amount of excavation around it in the British Line.
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Previously we have never had opportunity to look at the British trenches so this is both exciting and very useful for our research into the development of the battlefield.
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As usual we will be staying with our friends at the Peace Village in Messines and enjoying the excellent food of Claude at The Auberge at Plugstreet – www.auberge-ploegsteert.be
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We hope to be updating the blog during our stay.

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The Day Thou Gavest

Saturday, February 28th, 2009
 
       

Well we survived the conference.
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Thank you to all the wonderful speakers for their excellent contributions and for sticking to their allotted timeslots. Also a big thank you to tha audience for a stimulating set of questions and discussions points,as well as for being generally nice people who wanted to talk and even buy us beer!
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It was good to see a few of the Plugstreet regulars in the audience,as well as our friend Eric,who will be joining us: Welcome Back from “Over There” mate!
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Meanwhile we’re planning a short foray to record a concrete shelter on the British line before the potato crop goes in. More breaking news soon!

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Conference on Saturday 28th

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
 
       

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Following a presentation of project findings to the Society of Antiquaries of London last week, several of the project team will be addressing this conference at Oxford University on Saturday.
Nick, Peter, Martin, Richard and Jon will all be giving papers which will draw in aspects of our work at Plugstreet. for any readers brave enough, you might also be able to find us at the Eagle and Child pub on St Giles on the evening of Friday 27th….

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Lost in Flanders

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
 
       

Those of you that followed the project in 2007 will recall the presence of an Australian tv film crew on site. The fruits of their labours will be shown this year (date and time to be announced) and will follow team members Mat and Michael as they look at the discovery of remnants of the Great War in Belgium. Some of this film will examine our excavation and the flyer seems to show two of the dig team on the cover…step forward Jo and Becks…
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Martin and Richard are still liaising with the Australian Govt in attempts to gain an identification of the soldier we found

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Of Peace and Christmas Truces

Friday, December 19th, 2008
 
       

A Very Happy Christmas
Joyeux Noel
Vrolijk Keerstfeest
Froheliche Wienatchten
Nodlaig Mhaith Chugnat
Buone Feste Natalizie
Kala Chrristouyenna
Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
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We at the Plugstreet Project wish you all the compliments of the Season and pause to remind you that it is our study area that the famous Christmas Truce between British and German soldiers took place in No Man’s Land.
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Finding the Archaeology of such an event may be impossible but we hope the spirit of this event pervades your Christmas and New Year.
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In the spirit of international cooperation that pervades the project we wish you a Happy Christmas in English, French, Flemish, German, Irish, Italian, Greek and Basque.
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We also think of our friends who are far away, some of them in dangerous places and wish them Peace.
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All Good Wishes
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The Project Team

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Remembrance

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008
 
       

11:00 hrs on the 11th November.
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Our last surviving veterans in Whitehall, Prince Charles at Verdun and silence across so much of the world.
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We Will Remember Them!
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As archaeologists in this sector we are become agents of remembrance as we excavate the sites and reveal the human stories.
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Jakob Hones,Albert Thielecke, Leopold Rotharmel, our Anzac and others, as yet un-named, we in No Mans Land are proud to have brought in from the cold…
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We remember you.

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Conference Announcement

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
 
       

Dear all
a chance for those of you that have been following the blog to come and meet a number of the key players and learn more about the archaeology of the Great War, with Plugstreet featuring prominently! Oxford University is holding a day school on Saturday 28th February 2009 at Wellington Square. The programme is detailed below (with an asterisk adjacent to Plugstreet project team members…)
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The Great War: the archaeology of the first of the 20th Century’s Great Conflicts
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‘Our knowledge and understanding of the First World War is considerable and yet much remains hidden. As we rapidly approach a time when there will be no surviving veterans of the conflict, the Great War through its archaeology offers a relatively new phenomenon that utilises familiar methodologies as well as innovative approaches to gain a better understanding of the war. This day school draws together a number of leading experts on Great War archaeology to examine a broad range of themes – from the sands of the desert war to the mud of Flanders and the material traces of those who fought
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09:45 – Introduction
10:15 – Dr Nicholas Saunders* – Trench Art: Material Culture and the Antrhopological Dimensions of Great War Archaeology
11;15 – Coffee/tea
11:45 – Richard Osgood* & Martin Brown* – ‘We shall Certainly Change The Geography: Soldiers, civilians and the battle of Messines
12:45 – Lunch
14:00 – Peter Chasseaud* – ‘Imaging Golgotha – Aerial Photpgrahs and Trench Maps of the Western Front’
15:00 – Coffee/tea
15:30 – Dr Neil Faulkener – ‘Trains Trenches and Tents: the Archaeology of Lawrence of Arabia’s War’
16:30 – Jon Price – ‘Rise and Deride This Sepulchre of Crime: The Role of Archaeology and the Missing Dead of the Great War’
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Programme Fee
Tuition: £40.00
Catering
Hot lunch: £10.00
Baguette lunch: £2.50
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Join online: https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/courses/apply/apply_online.php?id=O08P158AHJ
For an application form, click here:
http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/courses/files/O08P158AHJ_2_Application.pdf
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Hope to see you there!

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Fields of Conflict

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
 
       

Over the past few days an number of the project team have been attending the 5th Fields of Conflict conference in Gent (Belgium). FOC exists to bring together specialists in Conflict Archaeology from around the globe. Delegates included Doug Scott, who virtually invented battlefield archaeology when he investigated the site of Little Bighorn, Glenn Foard, who has worked on Civil War sites from the UK and Susana and Achim Wilbers-Rost from the site of the Varian disaster (AD9) at Kalkriese. Inevitably the range of papers was wide, diverse and stimulating.
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Project members Peter Masters, Birger Stichelbaut, Jon Price and Martin Brown all presented on Great War Archaeology, heavily drawing on the Plugstreet Project. Peter and Birger spoke on their remote sensing work, marrying geophysics, aerial photographs and map regression work, wowing the audience with their results. Jon spoke about methodological approaches to excavation. Martin spoke on the subject of looking over the parapet, which explored the wider frame in which excavations on the Western Front exist – militarised landscapes, civilians, training and the international links of the war.
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Also speaking was Veerle Hendricks from the Flemish Heritage Institute, the VIOE. Veerle is writing up the A19 excavations around Ieper from 2002 onwards, including sites dug by No Man’s Land. It was her first major conference paper and she performed very well and wasn’t fazed by the eminent panel of delegates.
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It wasn’t all work and we did enjoy some lovely Belgian beer, including some rarities and oddities, while Oude Druide is nice we weren’t so keen on Spook! Birger was an excellent local guide and we especially salute the Ratz Bar, opposite the Opera House!

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Poodlefaking

Friday, October 10th, 2008
 
       

You may well ask…
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It’s a term used in the Indian Army (pre 1947) by officers of other junior officers who were seen out with ladies without their Commanding Officers’ permission.
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One team member was accused of it by the University Officer Training Corps’ regular officer when at Cambridge.
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We were surprised to see it here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/
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In an article of forgotten words you still love…

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