Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Battlefield Archaeology

By Bob Darby

Guiding Member of the
Guild of Battlefield Guides,
Badge Number 29

Battlefield archaeology can best be described as the artefacts of war which remain visible long after an action or battle from a previous time. Those who guide on the battlefields of the Great War and the Second World War will be aware of the trench lines and fortifications which still remain. Much has disappeared with recent development but there is one arena of 20th century conflict where much can be seen.

I recently visited the Falkland Islands fought over less than 30 years ago where the artefacts of war still remain. It was the wishes of the Islanders that nothing should be removed from the battle sites as a reminder to others as to what happened there.

I cannot think of any other battle site where a guide can follow the debris trail of action so closely. Because of their remoteness and sparse population the artifacts of the 1982 conflict will be viewed by visitors well into the 21st century with little or no change.

The following images will explain what I mean by battlefield archaeology.

Top to bottom:
  • Remains of an Argentine Dagger (Mirage) shot down by Sea Harriers over Pebble Island
  • The same Dagger on Pebble Island with just the Port wing and engine still relatively intact shot down by an air to air missile strike on the tailplane
  • Empty ammunition boxes 105 mm shells on Mount Kent
  • Personnel sangar (shelter) for Royal Artillery gunners on Mount Kent
  • 81mm Mortar Bomb carrier on Mount Kent
  • Cleaning the Ian MacKay VC Marker on Mount Longdon