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Military Archaeology

This new section aims to introduce members to the world of military archaeology. The discipline can be sub-divided into various sectors, and these have been given their own space in this section.

The subject only really appeared in the 1970s, spawned by interest in  the thousands of remaining sites left over from WW2, but was regarded as 'fringe archaeology' by the establishment. A few dedicated societies were formed amongst enthusiasts and they proceeded to build up an invaluable database of building/structure types over the years.

By the time the 1990s dawned, heritage bodies across Britain had come to realise that recent military heritage was every bit as fragile and worth conserving as the average Roman villa. This led directly to the Defence of Britain Project, which ran from 1995 -2002 and resulted in a database of 14,000 surviving anti-invasion defences across Britain, and another 5,000 military but non anti-invasion sites also being recorded.

This was due in no small part to the dedicated teams of enthusiasts who had spent years accumulating a wealth of data on many types of military buildings, the vast percentage of which no longer exist.

New Publications

Europe's Deadly Century 

New from Enlish Heritage

New Defence Areas downleads from English


Authored by William Foot, who has written quite a few books on the anti-invasion landscapes of 1940, these are designed to supplement the Defence of Britain Database.


This new book, edited by John Schofield, is a collection of papers on battlefield archaeology read at various recent.conferences. It's available from Springer-


Camp 165, Watten-

For anyone who reads the POW articles and updates on this forum, this new book should prove interesting. It tells the story of Scotland's contribution to the de-Nazification programme aimed at German prisoners.

Available from Whittles Publishing at-

Suffolk's Defended Shore presents an illustrated history of the development of military defences on the Suffolk coast using data colle cted as part of the English Heritage National Mapping Programme survey.  The survey involved the examination of both modern and historic aerial photographs which led to the creation of a detai led map of the archaeological remains on the country's coast.

Battlefield Archaeology

This subject has really grown in popularity recently, thanks to tv programmes like Two Men in a Trench, which has managed to answer fundamental questions about British battlefields which have perplexed experts for years.

The subject is not restricted to mediaeval warfare, however. A team of experts have been excavating the remnants of WWI's western Front, and the collapse of the Iron Curtain has allowed hitherto unheard of access to WW2 battlefields in Eastern Europe.


Aviation Archaeology

Bruce Robertson's classic 1977 book Aviation Archaeology can truly claim the credit for kick-starting this aspect of archaeology. From the humble beginnings of enthusiasts recording Britain's airfields from both World Wars, societies like the BAAC and ARG now conduct excavation of military crash sites and preserve the existing fabric of airfields.

Thanks to their efforts, airfields such as Tangmere, Montrose and East Fortune now have museum status and aircraft collections, and future generations can appreciate the sacrifice made by many aircrew in both wars.


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