Archaeology on the battlefields: an ethnography of the Western Front

Wilson, R. (2011) Archaeology on the battlefields: an ethnography of the Western Front. Assemblage, 11. pp. 1-14. ISSN 1365-3881

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The archaeology of the battlefields of the Western Front has provided an alternative perspective in the development of a new agenda in Great War studies. Excavations provide a viewpoint into the materiality and spatial dimension of the world’s first industrialized conflict. This however is not the only way in which the interests of archaeology can be served. The vast amount of archive material available forms an as yet untapped source of data to examine the landscapes, spaces and material culture of the war. This information which has already been rigorously studied by historians, can be reinvigorated by using archaeological research questions which address unexplored aspects of the conflict. This paper will demonstrate this potential by using archive material from British soldiers who served on the battlefields to construct an ethnographic study of the Western Front. Utilising postprocessual landscape theories, this ethnography will explore how soldiers reacted to the trenches, weapons and the threat of death and mutilation in the war landscape. This not only contributes to the development of archaeology in the study of the Western Front but by viewing the war in a different manner, archaeology can also construct a different remembrance of the conflict.

Publication Type: Articles
Uncontrolled Keywords: Western Front, ethnography, ethnohistory, materials, landscapes
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > History
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ross Wilson
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2015 13:01
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2018 15:23

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