Essay about Taking a Look at First World War Archaeology

Essay about Taking a Look at First World War Archaeology

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With archaeology’s development, the different new branches and sub disciplines with specific focus emerged. In the last decades we can whiteness the formation of military and war thematic related archaeologies like battlefield archaeology, conflict archaeology, airfield archaeology, forensic archaeology, great war archaeology and many others archaeologies that are dealing with a recent and violent history.
If we want to understand the First World War archaeology, we must know and understand the background in which it was formed. We will get to know broader archaeological fields and will move towards more specific types, until we will reach the First World War archaeology.

Archaeology has traditionally dealt with first civilizations, antiquity and older periods of human history, but with time its focus was getting closer and closer to recent time. In the last decades it came to the present where it deals with the interaction between the material culture and human behaviour, without limitations of space and time (look at Rathje 1979, 1981; Buchli, Lucas 2001; Saunders 2010b, 42). The rise of archaeological investigations of recent past can be traced from the 70s onwards. The Rathje’s Garbage Project / Le Projet du Garbàg played the important role. It started in the 1973 at University of Arizona (Buchli, Lucas 2001, 3). In this archaeological approach to the recent past the so called archaeologies of contemporary past emerged. The name was introduced by Buchli and Lucas (2001). In the context of it they highlighted some of the characteristic themes which had great impact on the development of archaeologies of contemporary past. These were production/consumption, remembering/forgetting, disappearance/disclosure, presen...


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...ipline (Saunders 2010b, 38). Saunders argues that pre 1914 battlefields were more or less small areas that were, after the battle, turned back to the harmless environment. After the 1914, the peaceful landscapes were transformed into killing fields that are continuing to harm and kill innocent people long since the armies had left and the war had ended (Saunders 2010b, 38). The reasons are numerous unexploded ordnances that were left behind on vast areas. Battlefield archaeology has a narrow meaning that is related only to the battlefield, but the First World War archaeology studies also the airfields, hospitals, warehouses, training camps, cemeteries, memorials and all of the areas that were located in the hinterland and were connected to the conflict and are a part of a conflict landscapes even if they were never used in a combat actions (Saunders 2010b, 38).


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