Friday, 16 March 2012

All quiet on the Western Front

Red deadnettle, Lamium purpureum
Last Sunday we had a club dig on new land, but nothing much was found. However I did find a clog clasp or fastener, a new object for me which Nick identified.
clog clasp or fastener
weight = 1.09g, length = 20.60 mm, width = 13.96mm
I also found a 1921 penny, a scout knife, a button and part of a copper alloy bell of whose circumference at the base is 9cm/3.5in

Two Wednesdays ago we had the monthly meeting of my metal detecting club. We had a guest speaker, Luke Barber, The Sussex Archaeological Society’s Research Officer. He described an excavation on the Western Front (World War I):
The location of the excavation was within the Commune of Auchy-les-Mines, a small town to the west of La Bassee and Lens in the Pas-de-Calais Departement of Northern France.
Google Earth image showing Auchy-les-Mines 
The excavation resulted in the identification of three soldiers whose remains were found. One was British, the other two German. The process of identifying them was a wonderful piece of detective work using objects associated with the remains. One soldier, Jakob Hönes, was identified from his identity tag. Soldiers were forbidden to put their identity on these, but many were frightened of being killed and not being identified. This soldier scratched his name and date of birth on the back of his id disc. His full army number was not available as the aluminium disc had partially perished. Enough of his name and date of birth remained to identify him positively from army records of missing soldiers. 
The story of these excavations is fascinating. These links provide further information:

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