Monday, 19 October 2009

DDA on Facebook and news...

You might like to know that DDA has joined the Social Networking Revolution and now has a Group on Facebook.

If you are already a member of Facebook  just log in and look for the....

Digging Dad's Army Project

If not it is a really simple Registration Process.

The site content is open to the public and group members can upload photos and videos as well as take part in discussions.

If you do find us please tell your friends-  it's all about friends- as we hope to use the Facebook site as another part of our DDA Project Outreach effort and to publicise Fieldwork Schools and other research.  Most importantly, we want to try to get a dialogue going with other people who are interested in the subject.

Of course we need things to talk about and we are also looking forward to again working at Shooters Hill in November.  We plan to finish surveying the three Air Raid Shelters in Oxleas Wood and hopefully at least one new one which was notified to us while we were on site in June.

Our Colleagues from the Great Arab Revolt Project are also off to Jordan in November so we'll look forward to hearing about this years research along the line of the Hijaz Railway.

Reminding you that, closer to home there is  the Post Graduate Conference in Conflict Archaeology at the University of Bristol this Saturday [24 October] with contributions from Dr Nick Saunders. GARP/GWAG's John Winterburn, No Man's Land's Martin Brown and yours truely as well as a number of other colleagues working in the field.  It should be a fascinating day-  details from John Winterburn at Bristol...

...and there is a conference programme and blog at...

Looking ahead to November this looks like being a very interesting and important conference and is highly recommended-  particularly as again, amazingly in these days of rocketing prices for some academic courses and conferences, it is free...

Friday 13th November 2009
University of Bradford, UK
Specialists in battlefield archaeology of the pre Industrial period and of the 20th century, together with others specialising in finds analysis and conservation, will lead a series of session. Contributors will also include several representatives from the national organisations responsible for management of historic battlefields in the UK.
The meeting represents and important step in a project run this year at Bradford, led by Rob Janaway and funded under the AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Research Clusters Scheme, which has the objective to promote the development of an integrated approach to the management, scientific study and conservation of battlefield artefact assemblages. Further details on the project are available at:
We would like to encourage all those with a practical involvement or professional interest in the subject of battlefield archaeology, relevant finds analysis and conservation, or management of the sites themselves, to take part. There is no fee for attendance.
For further details and to indicate a wish to attend please email Glenn Foard:

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend Dr Tom Buchanan's inaugural lecture for the Basque Children of 37 Organisation at Kensington and Chelsea Library.  It was a fascinating afternoon with an audience ranging from Ninos themselves and their families, to those whose relatives were involved in the efforts to Aid Spain and the Spanish Refugee Community and authors such as Nick Rankin who you might have seen on last years D-Day anniversary coverage on the BBC and has published books on the press coverage of Guernika and "Churchill's Wizards" about the scientific and deception campaigns in World War 2.
It was clear from what Dr Buchanan had to say that once again, for a subject which is still within living memory there is still much research to be done and conflict archaeology could make a real contribution.  Particularly in the fields of standing buildings and community based research.  I hope we will have some news on this aspect of the project in the very near future.

Andy B

Friday, 9 October 2009

SS Mendi and the SA Native Labour Corps

Some of you might have seen the story of the sinking of the SS Mendi and the survey of her wreck by Wessex Archaeology in the March/April 2008 edition of British Archaeology. It is one of those stories which brings home what the words "World War" really mean, but which, until recently, has been scarcely known in the UK, unlike in South Africa where the men of the Mendi are remembered and celebrated. It is the Black South African equivalent of the Sinking of the Birkenhead.

Southampton City Museums Archaeological Society are hosting a talk about the SS Mendi and the South African Native Labour Corps this Tuesday 13 October as part of their Black History Month programme, so if you have any interest in World War One, Black History, Maritime Archaeology, Forgotten and Overlooked Histories, or just want to find out more about a resonant and tragic episode do and you are able to be in Southampton on Tuesday evening do try to get along to St. Joseph's Hall.
to St. Joseph's Hall.

The details...
13th October 2009
John Gribble

‘The wreck of the Mendi and the SA Native Labour Corps: A Forgotten History’
The lecture will tell the story of the sinking of the Mendi off the Isle of Wight in February 1917 whilst she was carrying black South African labourers to France. The lecture will use the wreck of the Mendi to highlight the forgotten history of the South African Native Labour Corps (to which those aboard belonged), the Foreign Labour corps, and the larger British Labour Corps and will discuss some of the background issues to the formation and history of the SANLC.

Lectures are free to members and £2 per visitor. All lectures will take place in St. Joseph's Hall, unless otherwise stated, and start at 7.30pm (and generally finish by 9.00pm). Tea and coffee is served from 7.00pm. Please join us after the talk in The Duke of Wellington pub.

For further information e-mail or phone: 0781 285 1095