Saturday, 13 June 2009

Day 1 - Introduction and background to the Project

Digging Dad’s Army proper kicked off today with an introductory session based at Shrewsbury House in Shooters Hill. The program consisted of a series of background lectures throughout the day whilst some seasoned diggers began preparation of the main digging site at Eaglesfield.

During the morning after welcome and introductions the three speakers covered the following topics:

Andy Brockman set the scene describing the context of Conflict Archaeology and its relationship with Battlefield Archaeology in various theatres and historical contexts. Guy Taylor, our very own archive ferret, then gave an insight into the extent and use of archive materials underpinning the activities of modern day archaeology. Rounding up the morning session, David Thorpe, with some assistance from members of the GARP team in the audience, gave an enthusiastic overview of similar archaeological endeavour undertaken on the long term Great Arab Revolt Project in Southern Jordan.

After lunch the topics moved on to areas in post-conflict analysis. Dr Richard Burt of the McWhorter School of Building Science, Auburn University, Alabama, explained the influence of bombing on post war redevelopment and discussed the question of whether and how to memorialise the victims of bombing in the contemporary landscape.

Subsequently Rod Scott of No Mans Land discussed ammunition types as a research tool in conflict archaeology and the British Army's relationship with Archaeology going back to the 19th century.

Throughout the day the diggers were preparing the site itself. Covering the areas identified by previous investigations together with new geophysics the turf was removed from the sites and stacked nearby. The cleared areas were then cordoned off to preserve their integrity and also to make them safe for members of the public passing by, prior to the main digging activity commencing over the nest few days.

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