Armistice Day is a day for remembering the huge sacrifices made by members of the armed forces in the line of duty.
Our work brings us into contact with those that have been part of that sacrifice, through the traces they leave behind in the archaeological record and the stories that these can tell us.
This Armistice Day, we’re inviting you to discover more about some of the people, events and stories throughout history, to keep their memory alive.
We are proud to have recently collaborated with Waterloo Uncovered to develop a new video series of Lockdown Lectures with Phil Harding.
Waterloo Uncovered is a registered UK charity that combines a world‐class archaeology project on the battlefield of Waterloo with veteran care and recovery. Their work is carried out by a team which includes archaeologists, veterans, and serving soldiers. Waterloo Uncovered aims to understand war and its impact on people — and to educate the public about it.
Discover the collaborative video series here.
You can find out more about Waterloo Uncovered’s work on their website. In their latest video, some of Waterloo Uncovered’s previous participants reflect on their own experiences of war and on the accounts left by the people who experienced the Battle of Waterloo in their annual act of remembrance, Reading to Remember: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWeexnc9Vbk
WWI: The Larkhill 300
In 2017, Wessex Archaeology discovered a unique network of First World War tunnels beneath Salisbury Plain. The tunnels are part of a First World War battlefield used to train men to fight in and under the trenches of France and Belgium.
But the soldiers left more than that – they also left their names inscribed into the chalk walls. Over 300 pieces of graffiti were recorded and have been placed on a database.
The Larkhill practise battlefield was designed to be as close to the real thing as possible and British and Commonwealth troops all trained there. Live rounds and live grenades were used. Sadly, 204 soldiers died during the training and were buried in the nearby Durrington Cemetery.
Find out more about this project here: https://www.wessexarch.co.uk/our-work/larkhill
Last year, we provided archaeological services to support the making of the landmark film, 1917. We undertook several watching briefs and a trial trench evaluation on filming locations on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.
This work was integral to the excavations of 2 replica WWI trench systems which were used in filming and ensured that existing archaeology was surveyed and recorded before sets were constructed. The trench systems feature heavily in the film’s climactic scenes and help to provide a deeply immersive view of a soldier’s experience of WWI.
Over the past decade, Wessex Archaeology has been working with Operation Nightingale, Breaking Ground Heritage and the Ministry of Defence to support veterans to gain skills and improve wellbeing through archaeology and heritage.
Operation Nightingale is a military initiative developed to use archaeology as a means of aiding the recovery of service personnel injured in recent conflict. Breaking Ground Heritage was developed to work alongside Operation Nightingale to deliver positive outcomes for projects that utilise heritage and archaeology as a recovery pathway.
Read about the work we have done, including Barrow Clump and Project Florence, here.
In 2018, military veterans worked with our team to carry out a series of dives exploring the wreck of the HMS Montagu warship off the north Devon coast. You can find out more here.