Monday, 19 April 2010

DDA SITREP - The Summer 2010 Programme

So now it can be told... this weeks episode of the BBC's "Doctor Who," showed, the Battle of Britain was actually a dastardly attempt by the Daleks to entrap the Doctor and create a new "Master Race," in colour coordinated Art Deco.

Personally, I think it is entirely appropriate that one of the first extended references in the media to this year's 70th Anniversary of that momentous Summer of 1940 is on, what is probably, Britain's best loved family drama. The knowing references to War Films from "Where Eagles Dare" to "Star Wars," the visual referencing of the raising of the Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima and the inclusion of that unmistakable piece of kinetic sculpture, the Spitfire, performing a victory roll as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere, only goes to show how World War Two still pervades our popular culture and consciousness and how, even when people don't necessarily consciously want to remember, they just do.

Our own work this Summer will be slightly less of a romp than this weekends adventure, but I hope in its way it will mark and inform our understanding of how the most intense, sometimes terrible, always remarkable, period in modern British History, is written in the memories of people and in the archaeological record, particularly here in south east London.

We are planning events and activities designed to explore all the principle events of the Summer and Autumn of 1940, from the return of the BEF from Dunkirk and the desperate attempts to put some form of defence together in the face of a probable invasion, through the formation of the LDV/Home Guard in June with its million and a half volunteers within six weeks, to the Battle of Britain and the start of the sustained terror which was the Blitz on London. The moment when the daily fear of invasion began to give way to the more long drawn out fear of bombing.

We will be researching more of London Anti Invasion Stop Line B; looking at Home Guard Training and at the Anti Aircraft and ARP Services. Neither will we be forgetting the personal response by individual families building their own air raid shelters, or heading for the public provision in shops, parks and streets.

As always with "The Digging Dad's Army Project," we will be making a concerted attempt to make the work accessible through Open Days, Living History and Educational Activities involving our colleagues in various local schools and we also want to provide a more direct way of getting involved in the research.

To do that, we are working on a new Project with our colleagues at the "Thames Discovery Programme" and looking forward to November we will once again he helping facilitate the Birkbeck College Archaeological Geophysics Course which is led by our "House" Geophysics Team, Archaeophysica.

We will publish details of these and other events here on the DDA Blog and on the Facebook Group "Digging Dad's Army Project," in due course, but here are this years confirmed courses where you can get down and digging...

Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 June 2010
Digging Dad’s Army- Zeppelin’s, Anderson’s and Ack Ack
- an introduction to the theory and techniques of the Conflict Archaeology of the 20th Century.
10.00am – 5.00pm

Based in Shooters Hill, this groundbreaking series of talks and practical sessions is designed to bring together Archaeologists, Historians, Teachers, Museum Curators, and Living History Practitioners, in fact, anyone who has an interest in researching the archaeology of 20th Century Conflicts in Britain and presenting that research to the public.

Day 1 is a series of talks and discussions designed as an introduction to Conflict Archaeology and the Digging Dads Army Project.
Subjects to be covered include-
  • Is Conflict Archaeology, Archaeology?
  • Why bother with a load of old Concrete? Conflict Archaeology, planning and preservation.
  • Landscapes of Memory and Living Memory- the role of the eye witness.
  • Living Archaeology, Living History- presenting Conflict Archaeology to the public.
Confirmed Speakers include Andy Brockman, Local Consultant on the Time Team programme, “Blitzkrieg on Shooters Hill,” Dr Neil Faulkner of the “Great War Archaeology Group,” and Features Editor of Current Archaeology who excavated the crash site of Zeppelin L48 in Essex and Rod Scott of the No Mans Land Project.

Day 2 is designed to follow up the theory with practical examples of fieldwork and the presentation of data and artifacts to the public.
· The morning session consists of a guided field trip to look at the surviving military archaeology of the Shooters Hill area and Anti Invasion Stop Line Central, the subject of the Time Team programme, Blitzkrieg on Shooters Hill.
· Day 2 concludes with a visit to Firepower- the Royal Artillery Museum, where there will be a chance to discuss how Conflict Archaeology is presented to the public.
This is a unique chance to see what is going on in the fascinating discipline of Conflict Archaeology, to discover where to find out more and how to get involved in research and presentation.
The workshop costs just £70 including Tea and Coffee and entry to Firepower.
[£40 concessions].
NB: If you wish you can book for Day 1 the Talks Programme only;
or Day 2 the visits to Shooters Hill and Firepower only, at a cost of £35 [£20 Concessions].

Monday 14 June 2009- Friday 18 June 2010
Digging Dad’s Army-
An Archaeological Fieldwork School at Shooters Hill.

The Shooters Hill Field School will be a chance to learn or practice the skills required in archaeological fieldwork, while applying them on sites known to have features dating from World Wars One and Two which we are studying as part of the Digging Dad’s Army Research Programme.
This course is suitable for both beginners and those with some excavation experience who might wish to practice their skills or learn new ones.

The week will consist of an introduction to the site and the story behind the excavation,
followed by the survey and excavation of specifically targeted areas of Shooters Hill.
In particular we hope to un-cover sites connected with the Invasion Threat and Blitz of 1940.
This area is known to be rich in archaeology and there may also be features from other periods.
The Field Course is designed to be “Hands On,” and skills you will have the chance to learn or practice include…
  • Excavation Planning and Project Designs.
  • Health and Safety on Archaeological Sites.
  • Basic Levelling and Surveying.
  • Excavation Techniques.
  • Archaeological Recording- Plans, Sections, photography and Specialised Recording for Masonry etc.
  • Finds Identification, analysis and basic conservation.
The excavation is being directed by Neil Faulkner and Andy Brockman, but all participants will be encouraged to discuss the excavation and finds and contribute their own thoughts and interpretations.

The Fieldwork Course costs just £160 including Tea and Coffee.
[£100 concessions].

Saturday 19 June 2009-Sunday 20 June 2010

Digging Dad’s Army- Blast Shelters and the The Bagnold Bunker
An Introduction to Standing Buildings Recording.

Tutor: Kirsty Nicol of Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit and “No Mans Land.”

Many World War Two Pill Boxes and similar sites have their location recorded but relatively few have been subject to full photographic and three dimensional recording.
This weekend workshop is designed to study a series of apparent Air Raid Shelters in the Oxleas Wood area of Shooters Hill and record them for publication and inclusion on the local Historic Environment Record.
Participants will have the opportunity to plan and record the sites using standard recording techniques which are applicable to standing buildings of any period.
These include…
Recording Standards- how much detail do you need to record?
Setting up a grid.
Locating structures using Ordnance Survey Bench Marks and GPS.
What to photograph and how.
On Site and Off Site Drawing.
Paper based recording systems.
Electronic recording using a Total Station Theodolite.
The workshop costs just £70 including Tea and Coffee
[£40 concessions].

Details of all three courses and a booking form are available from me, Andy Brockman, at DDA Admin
Telephone: 07958 543518

Also you can download a prospectus here.

As we say on DDA, "See you on site" and in the meantime, as Churchill said KBO...

And there it is, in what must be a record this week- a blog and not one word about the UK Election.
Perhaps one thought though. However imperfect the UK system is, one of the reasons for confronting Nazi Germany in 1940 was to retain the right to vote for whichever party you favour to form a government, or to the right to keep on complaining about the one you do get without fear of the 2am knock on the door. To that end people, including many who would have been too young to vote in 1940 when the voting age was 21, willingly or not, gave up their lives.
Whoever you choose to vote for, perhaps going out to vote on May 6th is another way of remembering what might have been had things taken a different turn seventy years ago, particularly when we have political parties on the Ballot whose Leadership think the wrong side won.
Andy B