THE FIELDWALKING CAMPAIGN


The remains of shells found by a local inhabitant (left).
Three bullets, explosives and a fragment of a shell (middle).
A bullet, a French rifle grenade and a German discus grenade (right).

The majority of farmland was checked for the presence of material rising to the surface from continuous ploughing. Enthusiastic volunteers frequently joined our team. This study revealed clear concentrations dating from the First World War and provided us with a great variety of finds. These include various types of ammunition (shrapnel, shells, lead shrapnel balls, bullets, explosives and scrap metal), barbed wire entanglements (rolls of barbed wire, fragments of barbed wire), trenches (duckboards, petrified sandbags), metre gauge railways, telephone lines, bunkers (complete examples and remains of destroyed structures that indicate their presence in the past), weaponry, supplies (potsherds and pieces of glass from bottles of rum) and the personal gear of the soldiers (fragmentary helmets, a harness, spades, etc.). Later on, during the excavations, it became clear that underneath concentrations of surface finds noted during the field walking, well preserved trenches remained.
Farmers working land located along the proposed A19 route were interviewed to gain additional information on the presence of remains from the First World War. More than 70 farmers co-operated and several oral witnesses proved to be of great value. In addition, agricultural drainage ditches emptied in winter were checked and integrated in the research results. In this way several traces of trenches and metre gauge railways were located. Also the existing depressions in farmlands and meadows were mapped since these might indicate the presence of deep dugouts.