Taking the hill: archaeological survey and excavation of German communication trenches on the summit of Mont St Quentin

Pollard, T. (2014) Taking the hill: archaeological survey and excavation of German communication trenches on the summit of Mont St Quentin. Journal of Conflict Archaeology, 9(3), pp. 177-197. (doi: 10.1179/1574077314Z.00000000039)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1574077314Z.00000000039


This following presents the results of a limited programme of field investigation carried out on the site of German communication trenches running through woodland on the summit of Mont St Quentin, just outside the town of Peronne, in the Somme region of Picardy (Fig. 1). The aim of the project was to assess the archaeological potential of features related to the Battle of Mont St Quentin, which took place in August/September 1918 and was co-directed by Tony Pollard and Iain Banks. The fieldwork, which consisted of topographic survey, metal detector survey and limited excavation, was carried out over ten days, between August 29 and September 9, 2011.<p></p> The action, by men of the Australian Second Division, saw the Germans pushed off their strong position on the hill and thereafter the re-capture of Peronne. As a result, three Victoria Crosses were awarded and General Rawlinson described the battle as the finest achievement of the war. Given its place in the history of Australian military endeavour on the Western Front, the Historial de la Grande Guerre in Peronne has taken out a 50 year lease on an area of land within Mont St Quentin Wood, which is an initiative supported by the Australian government via the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. This ground includes a number of German communication trenches, along with other features such as shell holes. The intention is to include this area in a heritage trail (Australian Remembrance Trail), which will incorporate other sites of Australian activity, including Fromelles, Villers-Bretonneux and Hamel. In order to maximise the impact and educational value of the site it has been subject to archaeological investigation, an exercise that will add to our understanding of events there, and also provide information and material for a proposed interpretation centre.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Communication trenches, Second battle of the Somme, Hundred Days Campaign, Mont St Quentin
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pollard, Professor Tony
Authors: Pollard, T.
Subjects:C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Research Group:Centre for Battlefield Archaeology
Journal Name:Journal of Conflict Archaeology
Journal Abbr.:JCA
ISSN (Online):1574-0781
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 W.S. Maney and Son Ltd
First Published:First published in Journal of Conflict Archaeology 9(3):177-197
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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