Snails and shelters

Military History Carnival 16 has been posted at American Presidents Blog. There's an easy choice for me (although the snails did make me go 'ewwww'): The Blogger will always get through has found an intact trench in East Sussex, which was part of the anti-invasion defences in the Second World War. Sterling work, and there is a video and another photo (and snails) in a follow-up post. Which is as good an opportunity as any to mention a link which Alun Salt passed on to me, a report by Wessex Archaeology of a Time Team excavation of possible Second World War defences in the Shooters Hill region of southeast London, including an underground bunker of unusual design. One the one hand, the idea of doing archaeology on such a recent period seems faintly ridiculous -- there are people still alive who would remember what was there, and there are plenty of paper records for historians to sift through. On the other hand, not everything about such defences will have been written down, and memories fade, so it's not actually ridiculous at all. More world war archaeology, I say, more!

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2 thoughts on “Snails and shelters

  1. JDK

    Coincidentally, we've just been having a very interesting discussion on the Key Publishing Historic Aviation Forum about 'aviation archaeology' and what it is and isn't and what merit it has, and issues with integrity over data recording and publication and much besides.

    It's long, so it's worth sitting down with a cup of tea or a stiff one, as preferred!

  2. Post author

    Thanks -- there went two hours of my life :) I'm glad history never arouses such passions!

    I agree with the points made about aircraft wreck recovery being relatively unfruitful for archaeologists, since the aircraft themselves are fairly well documented, and we often have complete surviving examples for study. So any new information is going to be second-order at best. That's would be less true when it comes to fortifications and civil defence sites, I think, because there would have been much more scope for variation, probably less documentation and less interest in preserving it, and perhaps most importantly, there would be a range of social/cultural information about how the sites were used and sited which by definition doesn't apply to a crash site. Still, many of the issues are pertinent in both cases (e.g. qualifications, reporting).

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