- Slides: 58
A Mirror to Armageddon: The Archaeology of The Great War Training Grounds Martin Brown FSA MIf. A Chair – No Man’s Land Principal Archaeologist – WYG
Culture: Material & Materiel • The Great War has left an enormous physical legacy in landscape and individual artefacts. • Great War Training Landscapes are meaningful artefacts. • Where is the Front?
Landscapes of Victory or Orphan Heritage? If I should die, think only this of me; That there's some corner of a foreign field… (Rupert Brooke, The Soldier)
Your Country Needs You: 1914 -1915 • Massive expansion of the British Army, • Integration of Commonwealth troops, • Developing training to: – Build the New Armies from Civilian recruits, – Reflect situation in Theatre, – Introduce new weapons and tactics. • Winning the War.
The Response • Massive expansion of training camps and attendant infrastructure, • Development of new training features, including specialist facilities, • Tactical experiments and Mission Rehearsal.
Simulacra of War • Training adapts to the reality of Modern War 1914 -18 • Found all over the UK • Practice works: – Build fitness – Develop unit cohesion – Teach useful construction & maintenance skills – Can be used for combat training – Can be used to teach trench routine – Can afford opportunities for pre-deployment battle hardening – Can include trenches, mines and other fieldworks forming simulacra of the battlefield – Can have specialist functions.
Trenches 1914: The Learning Curve • Zandvoorde: 2 nd Scots Guards
Plugstreet Wood Autumn/Winter 1914 Somerset Light Infantry
Preparing for War
Simulacra of War
Anzacs - Realistic Training?
Exceedingly Good Training? • Australian trench map of trenches at The Bustard, Salisbury Plain, • Trenches used for intensive training, • Backfilled post 1928.
CPAT: Kinmel Park Study
Time Team: Belton House • • Archival Research Earthwork survey Geophysics Targeted trenches
Cannock: A Town for Four Winters • Two Camps: – Brocton – up to 40, 000 men – Rugeley – up to 20, 000 men • Occupied from Spring 1915, used by Training Battalions of numerous units, • Brocton also accommodated German Po. W cage from 1916, • Brocton studied by Birmingham Archaeology & No Man’s Land for Staffordshire County Council.
Little Grey Home in the West • Temporary Camp – Almost entirely constructed of wood, • Leaves limited archaeological traces. • Geophysical and landscape surveys useful tools in testing surviving plans and identifying unmapped features.
Preparations for War • Some features already located: – Numerous Practice Trenches – Main Rifle Range • Others not yet located/tested: – Bombing Range – Dug-outs – Artillery – Gas
The Humble Cartridge. . .
National Library of New Zealand 1/2 -013854 -G
Across the Wire
The Things They Carried • As in any Archaeology the meanings of artefacts are part of the narrative • Soldiers carry more than their issue kit • Materiel is endlessly transformable and mutable in form and meaning • The martial may be domesticated • The domestic may be militarised • Total War involves entire populations.
Objects in Conflict • Even the most mundane artefacts have meaning, • Others have remarkable stories, • Some even reveal the clash of Empires that is the Great War. • Others had multiple meanings ascribed to them. • Some tell incredibly personal stories.
Infrastructure and Supply • The Cannock Camps consume massive resources from construction to food and drink, • Excavation of a midden revealed: – Pottery from Stoke on Trent – OK Sauce – Beer – Oysters – But no Corned Beef! – All indicative of the impact of the War on the economy
Social, Cultural and Ritual Activity • The men are involved in a variety of practices and activities that have a material expression. • These activities can : – Reinforce military identity, or – Assert individuality within the military machine • They may have a practical purpose: – Building kinship groups
Meaningful Landscapes Community Archaeology
People, Place & Things • The Great War was the first industrial, global, total war. • Industrialisation of produce and supply make it a material rich period. • Militarisation occurs at all levels, from landscape to condiments and grooming products. • The domestic landscape is militarised as is Theatre. • This is a rich field for study.
Thank You Martin. [email protected] com http: //plugstreet-archaeology. com