Lehen Mundu Gerra Ikerketa

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008
 
       

Aste honetan gure nazioarteko arkeolojia taldea ikerketa bat egiten ari da Messinesen, Belgikar hiri bat Ypreseren ingurumenan.
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Plugstreet, herrialdeko herri txiki bat (Belgikaren hiri txikiena!), oso ospetua da Erresuma Batuan. 1917’ko Ekainaren 7etan bataila haundia piztu zeren. Bataila honetan oso interesgarria da Lehen Mundu Gerran. Ingalaterra eta bere Inperio Koloniala Alemaniaren kontra.

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Meanwhile……..

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008
 
       

In the command bunker we are still smiling… It is all going very well and the team are mostly well-behaved!!!!!
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The local TV came out today to interview Martin and Paola about the site – Paola is the better looking and speaks French! Look out for us on a Walloon television set near you!
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More news tomorrow.

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Day 2 – confusion reigns

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
 
       

Well what a day – mystery and mayhem have ensued!
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The `back to front trenchers´ aka Steve R´s crew, found that they´d spent two days digging their trench in the wrong place. Av´s team discovered an amazingly well preserved hand shovel circa 2007! Cheers for that Dan!
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The bunker team found some remnants of trench board, while Chris the gravedigger found an 1898 bayonet. Team Nosferatu spent all day digging the deepest trench in the world and found nothing until the amazing discovery of “the bottle of Messines” at 5.30pm!
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Meanwhile, Team Slither strike again. Bags and bags of finds including webbing, mauser rounds galore, 4 18lb shells, various tins, leather mush with rivets still attached, angle irons and finally a full wine bottle until Gontrand used his chink, chink, smunch excavation techniques resulting in eau de sulphur.
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All in all a good day!

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Day 1 – the beasting begins

Monday, August 4th, 2008
 
       

Well, the rest of the Plugstreet crew have spent the first day on site, after much drinking the night before!
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We now have 7 trenches open and even on day 1 we have had some interesting finds. Of course Team Slither have come up trumps, as we did last year, and despite only starting `Trench 12´ after our usual large baguette lunch, we´ve already found parts of a German pickelhaub!! Just the rest of the untouched German frontline to find in a baking hot flax field! No pressure!
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As for the rest of the group, well we have discovered a few interesting facts about Coops´ biological makeup which reacts unusually to a metal detector (see Facebook for those on it) and we´re all waiting to see Daisy Duke in his hotpants.
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The beer supplies are disappearing fast but we haven´t yet had to resort to the pink stuff! And for those absent friends who couldn´t make it back this year we are all enjoying wedding style buffet dinners of smoked salmon, but we are thinking of you and drinking to your health!

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Plugstreet 2008

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008
 
       

Well ‘The Colonel’ has been deployed. Bar takings last night totalled 66 euros but only 6 team members were present!. We are expecting to drink the bar dry yet again!. The Colonel this year is going to concentrate on surveying around the Ultimo Crater in order to locate the other lewis gun emplacements and Company Headquarters.
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The advance party is now ensconced in the Peace Village at Messines. Last evening we hooked up with the excellent Claude at the Auberge and said hello before going off to eat in Ploegsteert. Sadly Claude had just come back from holidays so his kitchen wasn’t open so no moules yet!
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And now it’s time to hit the landscape and get out, meet some of our other key players like the farmer and the Historical Society ready to start laying out trenches tomorrow and digging on Monday. Meanwhile there are tools to collect, geophysical surveys to do and a supermarket run to chase.
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Meanwhile… we say CONGRATULATIONS to Louise from the Peace Village who is a new mum to Dylan, two weeks old!
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We also wish Caroline the PV Manager a good weekend at the Dranouter Folk Festival! Top Brit folk acts Billy Bragg and the Men They Couldn’t Hang are on. Enjoy!

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Bonekickers

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
 
       

As the first day of the dig draws nigh the No Man’s Land team have been pipped to the post with exciting discoveries by the Wessex University “Bonekickers”. For readers not familiar with them the group are stars of a BBC TV drama set in a fictional university department. You can tell it’s fiction as they drive nice cars, live in the Royal Crescent at Bath and are all attractive and witty. Oh and they found the True Cross, Boudicca’s body and the Tablet of Destiny (gasp!).
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Anyway this hugely enjoyable tosh is broadcast on a Tuesday evening and next week’s episode centres on the discovery of a First World War Tank near Verdun. We shall all be watching to see how one should really do Great War Archaeology!
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If you do watch let us know what you think via the comments!
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You will be able to see Martin and Prof Mark Horton (Bristol University, adviser to the series and alleged model for “Dolly” Parton) talking about tanks and Great War Archaeology on the Bonekickers website after the broadcast of next week’s programme. It was worth it to crawl around tanks at Bovington’s excellent Tank Museum.

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Approaching Zero Hour

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008
 
       

Readers,
we are delighted to be able to announce that the project now has official permission for its excavations at St Yvon this summer. The team will be on site for a week in August and will update this blog with news of finds and thoughts as we did last year.

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Spreading the Word

Monday, July 14th, 2008
 
       

Yesterday Richard and Martin gave a presentation to the annual Conflict Archaeology conference at the Royal Logistics Corps Museum at Deepcut. It was good to present to an audience of interested amateurs and fellow practitioners in the field and the responses to our multistrand approach to the landscape and the individual sites was well-received.
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The event was a mixture of ancient (Ramesses II) and modern (WW1 & 2 and Bosnia) with an interspersing of post-medieval (English Civil War). Tal Simmons paper on Bosnia was hard viewing and listening but ultimately worthwhile, not only because of her powerful delivery but also because it served to remind us of the reality of conflict, including injury, sickness and death in traumatic circumstances. Meanwhile Neil Faulkner’s paper on the Arab Revolt and TE Lawrence threw up some interesting differences with our work, although Plugstreet and Lawrence were contemporary. However there were marked similarities too, including the German trench systems.
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The cross current in several papers was that this is essentially a community endeavour, whether those communities are close to the sites in UK, in Jordan or at a remove in a second or third country, as we are for this project. The nature of conflict means that it may have resonance and meaning years after the event for those affected, even indirectly. Archaeology gives some people the opportunity to engage directly with that heritage and, we hope, offers everyone the chance to hear something new about the events and people in the past.
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Thanks and credit to Andy Robertshaw and his staff at the RLC Musuem.

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Zero Minus 3

Saturday, July 5th, 2008
 
       

Three weeks that is!
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We have agreed the trench locations with the farmer and are set to launch our next season of excavation and survey at Plugstreet.
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Once again a crack team of archaeologists and fellow-travellers is set to embark. This year the team includes some new faces, including two more American friends and our first representative from the Republic of Ireland. Kat has a missing relative so joins the members of the team with that particular attachment to the battlefields. We are also pleased to have Rod on board, after his absence last year due to a more modern war. Welcome to you all.
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As we have said before the idea of No Man’s Land is an international venture and so we go on, our common purpose being to investigate something that once divided us.

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Bonekickers

Saturday, June 21st, 2008
 
       

How could I let the media event of the year go by unremarked?
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Bonekickers started last week on BBC1 in the UK. If you didn’t watch it you missed out. The new series follows the story of fictional archaeologists from the University of Wessex and each week they will be involved in a plot centring around a site.
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I suggest you read the reviews for yourselves. Particularly amusing are the pieces in The Guardian…
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But why am I telling you this?
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If you watch the episode coming up in a couple of weeks you’ll see a dig on a wreck of a Great War Tank and the recovery of its crew. I’ll say no more so I don’t spoil the surprise.

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