Friday, 26 September 2008

Bulletin 23 (September 2008)


GWAG first visited Honor Oak Park in August 2007, following liaison with Friends of One Tree Hill, to investigate site of a WW1 gun emplacement and its environs. The activities that weekend consisted of cleaning up and recording the gun emplacement, carrying out geophysical and metal detector surveys and excavating a small number of test pits. Although there were tantalising glimpses of possible evidence of Great War occupation, it was felt that further investigation was necessary to try to locate structures and activity associated with the emplacement.

GWAG therefore returned for a further weekend of work in September 2008.

Trench 1 showing metalled surface and plinth

The Friends of One Tree Hill and GWAG both recognised the vital importance of oral history as well as archaeological investigation into this popular recreational area and the weekends investigation was publicised widely in the local area, to attract visitors, in particular those with memories or stories to tell.

A further metal detector survey was conducted, as well as a visual check of the morphology of the site, and a number of areas for excavation were identified.

Trench 1 was sited to the south of the emplacement in a grassy area devoid of shrubbery. A roughly laid metalled surface was located, which continued under the modern path. A plinth of rough stone was set onto this surface, next to an area of clay. When the trench was extended to ascertain the southerly extent of the surface an area of intense burning was located, along with a large number of finds including complete half pint milk bottles, pottery, glass, and metal objects including three cast iron objects, one of which appears to a grate and other two the sides of a stove. Nearby a cast iron tray was located.

Trench 2 was located to the east of the site. Evidence for the edge of the metalled surface was located, but nothing in the way of finds.

Trench 3 was sited adjacent to the gun emplacement to identify the relationship of the steps to the emplacement with ‘crazy paving’ leading south east. The metalled surface was located here as well, and appeared to be contemporary with the emplacement and its steps.

Trench 3 Ian H clears thistles to find more metalling

Trench 4 was placed in the area of the only thistles on the site, in an attempt to locate a possible latrine. This was not fully excavated due to time constraints, and only a continuation of the metalled surface was identified, with a possible edge to the south.

It is clear that the area generally to the south of the gun emplacement was metalled in what appears to be hasty manner. Although there were few datable finds from period being investigated, the archaeological evidence together with the known history of the site suggests that this surface was placed over an extensive area to facilitate the building and manning of the gun emplacement.

The full report for this site will follow.

GWAG would like to thank the friends of One Tree Hill for their support and assistance with this project.

A Gallery of pictures associated with this year's work is available here

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Bulletin 22(September 2008)

One Tree Hill revisited

GWAG members together with the Friends of One Tree Hill resumed exploratory work at the Honor Oak site yesterday. The main visible feature of the World War One gun emplacement was further investigated as was the nearby land, with a view to locating ancillary structures which may have been associated with the emplacement.

Two surface trenches were begun revealing some evidence of what might have been a path or track up to the gun. The work continues today and there will be a further report shortly.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Bulletin 21 (August 2008)

The Archaeology of the First of the 20th-Century's Great Conflicts

A day school to be held at Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford.

'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'

Saturday 28 February 2009

Speakers include -

Dr Nicholas Saunders - 'Trench Art: Material Culture and the Antrhopological Dimensions of Great War Archaeology'

Richard Osgood & Martin Brown - 'We shall Certainly Change The Geography: Soldiers, civilians and the battle of Messines'

Peter Chassead - 'Imaging Golgotha - Aerial Photpgrahs and Trench Maps of the Western Front'

Dr Neil Faulkener - 'Trains Trenches and Tents: the Archaeology of Lawrence of Arabia's War'

Jon Price - 'Rise and Deride This Sepulchre of Crime: The Role of Archaeology and the Missing Dead of the Great War'

Fee options
With full lunch - £50
With baguette lunch - £42.50
Without lunch - £40

For further information -

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Bulletin 20 (July 2008)

New GWAG Web Site launched

The GWAG Web Site has undergone a complete revamp making it far quicker to load and easier to navigate. Also more images on every page give a better overview of the range of work of the group.

Take a look here

Also for information David Thorpe, one of our Directors, is having spinal surgery/reconstruction at Kings College Hospital in south London on 30th June and expects to spend only a few days incarcerated before embarking on 3 weeks of boredom in Tunbridge Wells. "Only Billy Piper in Belle De Jour will have spent so much time on her back! Several months more are then to be enjoyed. All, and all is INCLUSIVE, visitors are welcome. Books and chat very much encouraged. David is damned determined to be fit and as obstreperous as normal by GARP Season 3 in November. Sadly, the scars will be small (as are many other things...) Dx"

Finally, Have you seen the other European Great War Archaeology web sites in our links list on the right? Have a look at the Plugstreet Project and No Mans Land Info for information about related archaeological work going on in Belgium and Northern France.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Bulletin 18 (June 2008)

Back to Jordan with the Military

Last November, as reported on the GARP Website, we archaeologists bumped into a group of British soldiers on exercise in southern Jordan. They had been following our progress via Roger’s daily blog and tracked us down to find out what exactly we were up to in such a wilderness (They thought they were the only Brits mad enough to be only 40kms from the Saudi border!). Neil and I spoke briefly with them at both Wadi Rtm and Ma’an, and exchanged details.

As a result of these chance encounters I was asked by British Forces Cyprus (BFC) to accompany their annual educational Battlefield Tour. In May of 2008 it was to be to southern Jordan: In the Footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia. David, the left-wing arch and a bunch of hard-core soldiers?? Not a match made in heaven you’d think. But, you’d be wrong.

I spent nine days (1 and a half of them in the Officers Mess in Cyprus—which included a swimming pool and great grub) with 25 members of BFC, both male and female. And, as a particular bonus, my days were also spent with Jeremy Wilson, the pre-eminent scholar of Lawrence of Arabia, my co-“expert”. We encompassed GARP sites from Amman to Aqaba, from Wadi Rtm to Fasouah to Lissan, and by 4x4s the length and breadth of Rum. We had Jordanian advisors with us, Bedouin guides and many on site, and in hotel, discussions on the 1916-18 Ottoman/Arab campaigns and how they related to the UK military’s experiences in modern day Afghanistan. (It is worth noting that almost all of the BFC group I accompanied had served in Afghanistan or Iraq or both. Most are due back there soon.)

From GARP’s and GWAG’s viewpoint I learnt an inestimable amount. Not just from Jeremy (I expected that), but also from the serving soldiers. They have a view of the terrain, its difficulties/obstructions, military practicalities, and varying insights that I hope to bring to our weeks in Jordan in November. I can honestly say it was a pleasure to learn from a Lance Corporal and a cavalry officer, to mention only two.

On a personal note: I came back to the UK with an entirely different point of view of British service personnel. This is going to sound trite, but….they were insightful, highly disciplined, respectful of our Jordanian hosts, willing to learn, and extremely tolerant of this rather radical arch. And, yes, bloody intelligent. How naïve I must have been—thank you tabloid press. Damn good laugh, too! So thank you to Majors M., J., R., C., RAF K., the Colonel and the entire BFC group for one of the most enlightening and enjoyable week’s of my life.

[And I got to do the ubiquitous tour of Petra as well!]

I sincerely hope GARP will be in touch with BFC and Jeremy again in the near future.

David Thorpe
June 2008

PS. So you all don’t think I’ve “sold out”, the BFC plaque I was presented with now resides alongside a Che Guevara candle. The Colonel and Majors had joked about this possibility—it is reality!

Dave is also writing articles on his visit for future publication in Current World Archaeology and the British Army Review.

Bulletin 17 (June 2008)

Great War Events

Upcoming Great War related Events

'The Great War 1914-1918 - A Corner Of A Foreign Field'
An exhibition at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Burton Road, Lincoln from 3 May to 19 July 2008.

This is the brain child of, and is presented by, Mike Credland of the Friends of the Lincoln Tank, and includes displays of objects, costumes and memorabilia from the Great War.

'Tommies, Trenches and Tanks'
Also being held at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life on Saturday 21 June 2008 10am to 5pm

This event focuses on WWI and links to the above exhibition. There will be lots happening, including displays by members of the Friends of the Lincoln Tank, a presentation of WWI images of Lincolnshire, rationing, the homefront, etc. The Museum as also launching their Please Make Poppies appeal - visitors can make poppies to be displayed in November for the 90th anniversary of the end of WW1

Experience life during the Great War - 1914 to 1918 memorabilia, displays, demonstrations and activities, WWI archaeology, WWI war games workshop, children's craft activities, printing and propaganda, Life on the ‘Home Front’, War letters and poetry, Lincolnshire images of the period. Tickets £3.10 for adults and £2.00 Concessions.

'Talk by Dr John Bourne, The Collection, Lincoln'
The Friends of the Lincoln Tanks are presenting an evening of talks on Wednesday 2 July at 7pm. Dr John Bourne will be speaking on 'Joffre's War - A Sherwood Forrester In The Great War'. Local Lincoln Historian Rod Fanthorpe will also be speaking on 'Christopher Addison - Mother's Midwife'. Tickets are £8 each and available from me.

An finally - an event that is NOT happening in Lincoln! A reminder about -

'Not Just Rust and Dust: New Perspectives in Conflict Archaeology’ - Conference 2008

To be held at The Royal Logistic Corps Museum, The Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut, Camberley, Surrey, GU16 6RW on Sunday 13th July 2008.

Speakers include
Dr.Neil Faulkner - War Without a Front: The Archaeology of Lawrence of Arabia’s War
Dr. Tal Simmons - The Taphonomy of Execution and Ambush Sites in The Balkan War.
Dr. Andrew Shortland - Ramses II and the Battle of Kadesh
Glenn Foard - Edgehill – The Archaeology of an early- Modern Battle
Andy Brockman - Between the Lines on Stop Line Central – A Militarised Civilian Landscape in South East London
Martin Brown and Richard Osgood - “..We shall certainly change the geography.” – soldiers, civilians and the archaeology of The Battle

For further details - Telephone 01252 833371
Email information –
Tickets -

Tickets £20.00, including refreshments and buffet lunch. Reductions for students and Museum Friends.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Bulletin 16 (May 2008)

T. E. Lawrence Society Symposium

T. E. Lawrence Society Symposium to be held at St. John's College, Oxford, 26-28 September 2008

Saturday, 2.00-3.00

Dr Neil Faulkner: Trains, Trenches and Tents: The Archaeology of Lawrence of Arabia’s war.

At the 2004 Symposium, Matthew Hughes argued that the Arab revolt of 1916-1918 was militarily unimportant. This view is not supported by the evidence of the modern conflict archaeology in Southern Jordan. Two seasons of fieldwork have shown that the entire landscape was militarised, implying a huge investment of manpower and materiel by the Ottoman Empire to contain the Revolt. Neil Faulkner will argue that the effectiveness of guerrilla warfare cannot be measured using criteria applicable to conventional warfare in the way that Matthew Hughes tried to do. He will also demonstrate that the Arab Revolt had a profound strategic impact on the outcome of the campaign in Palestine and Syria during the First World War, and that it helped in the launch of Arab nationalism as a major force in modern global politics.

Although it is organised by the society everyone is welcome to attend. If people don't want to come for the whole symposium they can attend and pay for just the days/meals/accomodation they want. There is a flexible tariff of prices.

Please see links below:

Full Symposium programme

Prices and booking form

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Bulletin 15 (April 2008)

Friends of the Lincoln Tank Talk

The Friends of the Lincoln Tank present distinguished historians Professor Richard Holmes and Major Gordon Corrigan, speaking about The Great War on the same bill for the first time.

They will speak separately and then will both take questions from the audience.

This promises to be a unique and fascinating evening.

Date: Wednesday 28 May 2008 at 7.30pm at the Drill Hall,
Free School Lane, Lincoln LN2 1EY.

Tickets, costing £15 are available from the Drill Hall Box Office tel 01522 873894.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Bulletin 14 (April 2008)

National History Show Olympia

The National History Show is being held at Olympia in London from 2 to 4 May 2008. There are actually three events - one being 'Military History Live'.

I was delighted to see that the logo being used for this includes, in centre stage, a WW1 Tank. Its great to see this iconic machine getting the recognition it so richly deserves, and this can only enhance the work we are doing for the First Tank Project. (Link)

Angie Hibbitt
April 2008

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Bulletin 13 (March 2008)

News from friends in Jordan and new GARP article

Updates from friends in Jordan:
Salah's son thinks basketball is greatest game since we played in scorching heat in Wadi Rum. Thinks old (!!!) David should coach not play...

Mohammed and Hannah have texted to say children have eaten all sweets, despite H's mothers best efforts to ration them, and that Hannah is expecting another child. All the best from us limeys.

Mansour is now ensconced in his new directorial role (professorship beckoning?) and only wishes to know why we are not there to help with lectures.

All above from emails and mainly texts in Jan Feb 2008. David THorpe

New magazine article:
GARP 2007 will be featured in a large article in May's issue of Treasure Hunting magazine available from Smiths etc from 11th April 2008.

There have been some good group shots of things we did, as well as detector
finds, submitted for publication, although the magazine itself will make decision over which images go for final publication...if all are accepted the article will have a total of twenty three GARP 2007 related photographs in it.

In June issue available in early May will be the Review I wrote for the Zeppelin
book, although if space permits they may include this in the above mentioned
issue. Julian Evan-Hart March 2008

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Bulletin 12 (Feb 2008)

First Tank Project Weekend in Lincoln

Both the talks given on Saturday 23 February and the Open Day on 24 February were a resounding success.

All the tickets for the talk at the Collection were sold, with people travelling from as far away as Yorkshire and Northamptonshire. The packed house was not disappointed. Richard Pullen gave a fascinating overview of how and why the Tank came to be developed and of Lincoln's role.

This was followed by a thought provoking presentation by Neil on the Archaeology of Conflict, why the Great War was so different to everything that came before and the impact that it still has in the modern world. There were a great many questions for both speakers, from the audience - so much so the questions had to be curtailed to allow everyone to go home! A positive sign indeed!

The Open Day was always going to be an unknown quantity - would the Great War Archaeologists and Friends of the Lincoln Tank be sitting alone ....waiting? No. There was a stream of interested locals and more importantly people with stories to tell from the moment the doors opened to the end of play. It seemed as if Lincoln folk had just been waiting for an opportunity like this to come and tell their tales and show their photos.

The Friends of the Lincoln Tank did us proud with their displays of memorabilia - from a Vickers Machine Gun, to a WW1 Douglas motor cycle, to a remote control Mk IV tank (the size of our settee!), to medals. models, photos, books, plans, badges, brooches, uniform, you name it........ they brought it.

I'm absolutely delighted with the way the whole weekend went. My main aim, raising public awareness and interest was definitely acheived. Richard certainly has plenty more information for edition three of his 'Landships of Lincoln'. The Great War Archaeology Group has made its mark in the City.

We now need to consolidate the information we have, and find how we can best use it to help us with fieldwork on the Western front. Dave and I will carry out further geophysics to attempt to identify areas for for further investigation in Lincoln.

Finally I'd like to thank Neil Faulkner and Richard Pullen for both their presentations, to Dave Start of the Heritage Trust For Lincolnshire for introducing them and holding the evening together, to The Collection for allowing us to hold the talks in their wonderful lecture theatre and for making the evening run so smoothly, to the Royal Naval Association Club on Coulson Road in Lincoln for their hospitality (nothing was too much trouble) and to the Friends of the Lincoln Tank for supporting both events so fully.

Angie Hibbitt February 2008

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Bulletin 11 (Feb 2008)

Archaeology 2008 - The British Museum Conference Report

Archaeology 2008 - The British Museum Conference Report

The conference was hosted by Current Archaeology, Current World Archaeology and sponsored by the Traveller and the Portable Antiquity Scheme. It took place at the British Museum the 9th and 10th February 2008.

The places sold out; there were delegates, speakers and moderators, at least 500 people. The place was packed, so much so that one theatre had a dearth of spaces for the audience and an overflow facility with sound-only had to be hastily arranged. The British Museum staff, frazzled as they must have been with the simultaneous Chinese New Year celebrations, were unfailingly kind, polite and couldn’t do too much for everyone.

It is impossible to précis all the presentations, as two theatres were in use concurrently, and delegates had to choose one or other talk to go to. The topics were generally well presented with power point, and it was a pity the time slots for each were not longer, although the moderators did a fine job reminding the speakers when it was time to make room for the next presenter. There was a few question time sessions, but not enough and at the end of most sections of talks, although time for these was also limited. However, the breaks allowed everyone to meet and discuss issues, and the speakers were happy to mingle with the crowd and answer queries or to expand on their topic.

The speakers came from all walks of archaeological interest; diggers, historians, geophysicists, freelance and amateur, we saw and heard them all. Topics were presented of projects yet ongoing, nearly and newly published –we got some crafty book plugs- as well as topics old and new, all presented with verve, humour and some gorgeous illustrations. All areas of the U.K. were represented in the talks as well as further afield, as well as many eras of history. Pre-historians and Romanists were catered for; although Dr. Neil Faulkner’s passionate view of Roman Empire atrocities caused some to re-think their ideas of ‘Jolly Good Chaps and a Good Thing’ and shocked many into seeing modern parallels.

New to many was the subject of Conflict Archaeology, presented by Dr. Nicholas Saunders, an archaeologist and anthropologist. He introduced the topic as a multi-disciplinary subject that traced and recorded modern industrial warfare in the 20th and, alas, the 21st centuries. His interest as an anthropologist was very much to the fore. Instead of reciting the counting of bullets and shell casings, he took pains to present some of the victims, the 18 year old who never got to go home, the lost man killed on the Somme, with a pre-historic knapped flint in his bag, named when found decades later with a family who still wondered what had happened. Oral history was of paramount importance in pin-pointing places people lived and died in, of the feelings and thoughts of those who did go home, and it should still be of paramount importance as we are losing so many of the generations who fought in later conflicts. It was brought home quite forcibly that the legacy of these recent conflicts affect us all, no matter which flag we stand beneath.

Continuing on from this theme was Nadia Durrani’s presentation of the Archaeology of the first Blitz to hit our shores, with an account of Zeppelins over Britain in 1917. GWAG members were involved in a series of investigations in 2006, looking at World War One airfields, gun emplacements and a Zeppelin crash in Suffolk. Nadia ably conveyed the amount of detail the group managed to elicit
from desktop research, site surveys and excavations. Time constraints caused some points to be missed –although there was a book plug squeezed in- but the GWAG members present felt the excitement and interest of such new archaeology was well put forward.

As with every dig, details of moments of laughter and perhaps more importantly, those of extreme sadness when contemplating such recent lives lost, are unconveyable to another audience, but as with Dr. Saunders talk, many felt a poignancy and emotion not often experienced in history further removed from our memories.
Odette Nelson - Feb 2008

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Bulletin 10 (Feb 2008)

Archaeology 2008 - The British Museum 10th February 2008

This prestigious event will host two GWAG related talks:
"Conflict Archaeology, and why it matters"
Dr Nicholas J. Saunders
Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol

"In search of the Zeppelin War: the archaeology of the First Blitz"
Dr Nadia Durrani
Editor, Current World Archaeology

For more details of these please click here

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Bulletin 9 (Jan 2008)

The First Tank Project

The talk by Dr Neil Faulkner on 23 February 2008 will take place at in the Lecture Theatre at The Collection, Lincoln from 7pm. (See event poster - click here)

Neil will be speaking on ‘Tanks, Zepps and Training Trenches: the archaeology of Britain at War 1914 to 1918.’ His talk will encompass the archaeology of conflict - what is it, why is it different and why does it matter? Why was the First World War different to those that had gone before? Also, projects by other groups, e.g. No Man’s Land work on training trenches, as well as GWAG’s own projects e.g. the First Blitz.

Neil will be joined by Richard Pullen MA, who will be speaking about the Development of the Tank, and recent fieldwork carried out in and around Lincoln. Richard lives in Lincoln and is local and Great War historian, archaeologist, historian, founder member of the Friends of the Lincoln Tank and author – including ‘Landships of Lincoln’.

This will be followed on Sunday 24 February by the Open Day at The Royal Naval Club on Coulson Road in Lincoln. The Friends of the Lincoln Tank, along with GWAG will be putting on a display of the history and development of the Tank in Lincolnshire, together with model WW1 Tanks and an exhibition of WW1 artefacts. Locals are being encouraged to come along with their own stories, family memories or mementos to help fill in the gaps in our knowledge.
Angie Hibbitt - 6 January 2008

Friday, 4 January 2008

Bulletin 8 (Jan 2008)

Lincoln Open Day

date has now been set for the aforementioned ‘Open Day’ in Lincoln. It will be held on Sunday 24 February 2008 at the Royal Naval Club on Coulson Road in Lincoln.

This venue has been specially chosen due to its close proximity to the site of the William Fosters Factory and the testing grounds at Poppletons Field.

The main intentions of the Open Day are to raise public awareness of the local development of the Tank, by having displays of the History of the Factory and the Tanks, as well as encouraging people to come and talk about any memories they may have, or stories that may have been passed down through the family. There will be members of the Friends of the Lincoln Tank on hand to record these oral accounts.

Dr Neil Faulkner will also be at the event, to discuss the project both in Lincoln and in Europe.

Neil will also be giving a presentation in Lincoln on Saturday 23 February 2008

Further details to follow in in due course