Archaeology on the Western Front: the archaeology of popular myths

Wilson, R. (2007) Archaeology on the Western Front: the archaeology of popular myths. Public Archaeology, 6 (4). pp. 227-241. ISSN 1465-5187

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Archaeological projects on the Western Front have been ongoing for over a decade. As teams from Britain, France and Belgium investigate the remains of the world's first industrialized war there has emerged the question, what does archaeology tell us about the conflict? How does the discipline enrich or inform the memory of the war on the Western Front? These questions take on a special importance when one considers the prominent place the battlefields can hold in former combatant countries. The memory of the conflict within these societies is still felt today, it still has power and the capacity to evoke deep emotion. This paper explores these issues regarding archaeology's relevance in relation to the popular memory of the battlefields in Britain; it considers the ways in which archaeology impacts upon popular culture, and how archaeology responds to its audience. Placing archaeology in context with historical and literary means of assessing the war can provide a new insight into the contested terrain archaeology steps into as excavations on the former battlefields continue. Understanding how an 'archaeology of popular myths' exposes the network of concerns and agents that shapes public knowledge is central in the consideration of the archaeology of the Western Front.

Publication Type: Articles
Uncontrolled Keywords: battlefields, Western Front, memory
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > History
Depositing User: Ross Wilson
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2015 11:12
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2018 11:09

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