When Andrew Knight and I started researching this project, it surprised me to learn that the Gallipoli Peninsula is the best preserved WW1 battlefield in the world. It makes sense; the area has been a Turkish National Park for the last 40 years and is no less important to the national identity of Turkey than Australia or New Zealand.
Because of the sensitivity of the site as a memorial there has never been a significant archaeological study of the site – until now. Australian Veteran’s Affairs is supporting the Turkish, Australian and New Zealand Joint Historical Archaeological Survey (JHAS) lead by Prof. Antonio Sagona from the University of Melbourne. The team is reconstructing the campaign and life in the trenches on both sides of no man’s land.
Hi-tech Archaeology (image source: news.com.au)
JHAS is not your usual dig with crusty professors in ill-fitting cargo pants wielding trowels. It is cutting edge non-invasive archaeology where the trenches and battlefields are surveyed and documented with state of the art ground penetrating radar and satellite imaging. That way there is minimal disruption to the remains that often lie just below the surface.
The methodology and the material Tony and the team have found are fascinating for anyone interested in Gallipoli or battlefield archaeology. Some of their preliminary work is here, along with some press here and here. Who knows what else they might discover as the Gallipoli Centenary approaches?