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Archaeological Dig At Höhe 80 In Belgium


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Only few days to go to fund this dig before this heretofore unexcavated german fortified position from World War 1 at hill 80 (Höhe 80) near Wytschaete, Belgium gets paved over by a housing development project and the site is destroyed and lost forever.

Project Whitesheet 2018

Crowdfunded excavation of a First World War Battlefield



In 2015, during test trenching, a team of archaeologists discovered a well-preserved German strongpoint at a ridge top near the village Of Wijtschate (also known as Wytschaete — or ‘Whitesheet’ to the British). Wijtschate had been captured by the Germans at the end of 1914, who went on to build into what became formidable fortress that would only be breached in 1917 during the Battle of Messines.
With a full-scale excavation almost certain, the archaeologists closed their test trenches to preserve what they’d found. That is why an international team of experts has joined forces in an effort to make this happen, a scientific excavation, executed by professional archaeologists and supported by universities, governments and others – financed by crowdfunding.


crowdfunding:
http://dighill80.com/
http://kck.st/2z2OwES


project website: http://hill80.com/

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Yes. There was a documentary on discovery (couple of canucks investigating former European battlefields, pretty good) and there is a general policy of farmers carrying defunct ammunition to the corner of their fields, and subsequently putting it in a metal cage, ready for the Belgian ordinance disposal teams to take away and blow up. There have been Phosgene shells show up, im not aware of any cases when they have gone off or distributed chemicals. They are after all about 100 years old now.

 

Probably worth asking Chris Werb, he spent a lot of time in Belgium If I remember rightly.

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Happens from time to time, that one of the mines explodes. you know, those explosives filled caverns that engineers dug under enemy positions. Farmers hit grenades from with their plows from time to time. Or they just spontanously explode. No easy legacy living among UXO.

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From someone in the Midwest of the USA, are there non-exploded gas and other unpleasant munitions lying around yet to be found in these WW1 battlefields?

Yes mate, shedloads. You can see them stacked up at the side of fields all over France and Belgium waiting for the military to show up and deal with them, I saw a pile of two dozen or so shells of various calibres stacked up by the monument atop Cote 304 back in May this year. They'd been unearthed by guys timber harvesting there.

 

BillB

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Happens from time to time, that one of the mines explodes. you know, those explosives filled caverns that engineers dug under enemy positions. Farmers hit grenades from with their plows from time to time. Or they just spontanously explode. No easy legacy living among UXO.

Not heard about any mines going off recently, I thought the last was on Messines Ridge back in the 1950s or 1960s after a lightning strike; apparently there's another still lost around there somewhere. :blink:

 

BillB

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Re unexploded mines, there is one under the Vimy Ridge Memorial that was only rediscovered in 1988. Though it seems to have been made safe now.

https://www.military-quotes.com/forum/unexploded-mine-under-canadian-war-t70297.html

 

Earlier this year they excavated some training trenches on salisbury plain. They were so well preserved, they found evidence of the names of the people who dug them on the walls. One of them was later a VC winner.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-39696077

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Saw this over on ARRSE, some good pics although the write up is a bit general and over the top at the same time... :)

 

The Real "No-Go Zone" of France: A Forbidden No Man's Land Poisoned by War

http://www.messynessychic.com/2015/05/26/the-real-no-go-zone-of-france-a-forbidden-no-mans-land-poisoned-by-war/

 

BillB

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Isn't location and disposal from both wars' UXO a full-time career field in France?

 

Yes, and in Belgium.

 

 

GErmany, vietnam, Japan, Netherlands, Angola, former Yugoslavia etc. etc. pp.

 

 

Though the WW1 trenchlines are really rancorous.

Edited by Panzermann
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Isn't location and disposal from both wars' UXO a full-time career field in France?

 

Yes, and in Belgium.

 

 

GErmany, vietnam, Japan, Netherlands, Angola, former Yugoslavia etc. etc. pp.

 

 

Though the WW1 trenchlines are really rancorous.

 

 

Not sure what WW1 UXO you would ind in any of those countries to justify a career, with the possible exception of some parts of FRY and a tiny amount in Germany :)

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Yes. There was a documentary on discovery (couple of canucks investigating former European battlefields, pretty good) and there is a general policy of farmers carrying defunct ammunition to the corner of their fields, and subsequently putting it in a metal cage, ready for the Belgian ordinance disposal teams to take away and blow up. There have been Phosgene shells show up, im not aware of any cases when they have gone off or distributed chemicals. They are after all about 100 years old now. Probably worth asking Chris Werb, he spent a lot of time in Belgium If I remember rightly.

So the farmers handle unexploded shells and place them by the roadside?!

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Yes. There was a documentary on discovery (couple of canucks investigating former European battlefields, pretty good) and there is a general policy of farmers carrying defunct ammunition to the corner of their fields, and subsequently putting it in a metal cage, ready for the Belgian ordinance disposal teams to take away and blow up. There have been Phosgene shells show up, im not aware of any cases when they have gone off or distributed chemicals. They are after all about 100 years old now. Probably worth asking Chris Werb, he spent a lot of time in Belgium If I remember rightly.

So the farmers handle unexploded shells and place them by the roadside?!

 

 

In vast numbers. Yes.

 

Typical scene: http://c8.alamy.com/comp/E71639/ypres-ieper-ww1-battlefield-1914-1918-belgium-unexploded-ww1-shells-E71639.jpg

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Yes. There was a documentary on discovery (couple of canucks investigating former European battlefields, pretty good) and there is a general policy of farmers carrying defunct ammunition to the corner of their fields, and subsequently putting it in a metal cage, ready for the Belgian ordinance disposal teams to take away and blow up. There have been Phosgene shells show up, im not aware of any cases when they have gone off or distributed chemicals. They are after all about 100 years old now. Probably worth asking Chris Werb, he spent a lot of time in Belgium If I remember rightly.

So the farmers handle unexploded shells and place them by the roadside?!

 

 

In vast numbers. Yes.

 

Typical scene: http://c8.alamy.com/comp/E71639/ypres-ieper-ww1-battlefield-1914-1918-belgium-unexploded-ww1-shells-E71639.jpg

 

I admit to have no knowledge of this, but I presume that shells are inert with an extremely small chance of exploding?

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Happens from time to time, that one of the mines explodes. you know, those explosives filled caverns that engineers dug under enemy positions. Farmers hit grenades from with their plows from time to time. Or they just spontanously explode. No easy legacy living among UXO.

Not heard about any mines going off recently, I thought the last was on Messines Ridge back in the 1950s or 1960s after a lightning strike; apparently there's another still lost around there somewhere. :blink:

 

BillB

 

 

it's not lost, it's sitting underneath a farmhouse in Belgium.

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/1451468/Farmer-who-is-sitting-on-a-bomb.html

 

As an aside, of all the shit jobs you could have in WW1, I'm struggling to think of one that was worse than those poor sods that had to dig mines under the German lines. There are a few documentaries about it kicking around and on one I saw, they talked about how they would have to move through the tunnels in pitch black because the Germans might have broken in and if you were moving along a tunnel with a light then you made the perfect target for an enemy sat at the end of the tunnel with a rifle. One soldier's account talked about encountering somebody in the tunnel in the pitch dark and having to feel his uniform to try and work out if he was friend of foe and whether or not to try and stick a bayonet into him.

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