Projects

Below is an overview of some of the other projects that Breaking Ground Heritage have been involved in 

Chalke Valley History Festival 2016

BGH were invited to display and talk about some of the objects that they found whilst excavating in Mametz Wood, The Somme in 2015.

Our members were able to talk with the general public and to school groups each day, with the aim of telling the story of the 'lost generation' the generation of German soldiers on the Somme. Regardless of what history would have us believe, these soldiers were not Nazis, they were just answering the call of the Kaiser. 
Chalke Valley History Festival "Dig"

Under the expert guidance (again) of Richard Osgood, BGH members (and the general public) were invited along to investigate an area that is thought to have been used as a WW1 training area.

We were allocated our area and as soon as our spades went in we started to unearth find after find contemporary with the site. 

BGH in true military fashion had the guys covered with hot food and a comfy seat in the middle of a field (now only a veteran can produce something like that). 

A truly amazing excavation and the results will be displayed in a presentation at the festival on the 27th of July see here
Battlefield Partnership

The weekend of the 11-12 June saw BGH take up the invitation of the Battlefield partnership and head to Surry to turn our hand at constructing some replica First World War trenches  under the expert guidance of Andy Robertshaw.

After a hard days graft we relaxed with at BBQ and a beer and admired our handiwork, we also had a chance to reflect on just how difficult a task this would have been under artillery/sniper fire or even in silence at night so not to wake up the sleeping machine guns.

Anglo-Saxon Cemetery Excavation

Thursday the 24th March saw Breaking Ground Heritage invited to visit an Anglo-Saxon excavation undertaken by Wessex Archaeology. 

Participants were shown around the working site and granted access to the archaeologists as they were excavating the human remains in the graves. This was a fantastic opportunity for budding archaeologists or people with an interested in the subject. 

Ancient Technology Centre Open weekend

The weekend of the 19-20th of March saw us heading to Cranbourne after being invited to show our Chisenbury Midden artefacts at the Ancient Technology Centres open weekend. We were located in the fantastic Earth House alongside Pario Gallico's amazing Prehistoric cooking which I can honestly say would tempt anyone to travel back in time just for that. 

The team brought along the kids excavation pit for the first time and it proved to be a huge hit with young and old alike. A huge thank you to all involved and especially to the ATC for their hospitality. 
Battlefield Tour

March 2016 and we set of to France for our first Battle Field tour of the year. Visiting several areas of the Somme and surrounding areas this trip was thought provoking to say the least, and ended with a visit to see the Deborah excavated in 1998.
Rat Island Revisited


February 2016 and we were back out to the burial area known locally as Rat Island and we were not disappointed! Breaking Ground Heritage members got to work alongside DIO's senior archaeologist Richard Osgood to retrieve yet more human remains from this intriguing site that has potential for even more work to be carried out in the future. Watch this space!

Bronze Age burial near Stonehenge discovered by badger    

A Bronze Age cremation burial has been excavated by Breaking Ground Heritage near Stonehenge after being accidentally dug up by a badger. Objects found in a burial mound at Netheravon, Wiltshire, include a bronze saw, an archer's wrist guard, a copper chisel and cremated human remains. Experts believe the burial may have been that of an archer or a person who made archery equipment.

The artefacts date back to 2,200-2,000BC.

For mor information on this excavation see: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-35523757 

This fantastic Breaking Ground Heritage project has also just been published in National Geographic (Spain) 


First World War Archaeology at Mametz Wood, the Somme. 

This excavation was in conjunction with a TV production company for the filming of an archaeology/history documentary. Breaking Ground Heritage Participants were again working alongside well respected conflict archaeologists and historians to help tell the gruesome story of the events that unfolded in early July 1916 when the 38th (Welsh) Division assaulted Mametz Wood as part of the battle of the Somme. We even searched for the very trench that Sigfried Sassoon famously assaulted in a fit of rage and winning himself the Military Cross in doing so. Participants gained some valuable conflict archaeology skills and unearthed some rather interesting finds in the process. 

First World War Archaeology at Irish Farm, Belgium

The Breaking Ground Project was granted permission to join a commercial excavation in Ypres, Belgium along a line of British trenches allowing participants the opportunity to gain some invaluable commercial archaeological experience. During the excavation we found a some rather unusual artefacts including a pair of up turned boots complete with a foot inside and a personal medical kit that still contained the iodine glass vial intact and the owners false teeth. Whilst in Belgium participants had the pleasure of a Battlefield tour, visiting sites that were relevant to the participants Regimental or Corps histories. This was a thought provoking and emotional tour for all involved but thoroughly enjoyable.

The Chalke Valley History Festival

2014 also saw participants presenting various artefacts to school groups at the Chalke Valley History festival. The presentation also included a talk about the experiences that some of the participants had gone through on their journey from soldier to civilian and how an introduction into heritage has helped them. The day ended with a VIP dinner allowing participants of The Breaking Ground Project an opportunity to network with famous and renowned historians.


Rat Island Rescue Archaeology

During the floods of early January 2014, participants were called upon at short notice to conduct an emergency excavation of 'Rat Island' Portsmouth. Flooding had eroded the man made island revealing human remains protruding from the banks and lying upon the beach. A desk based assessment of the area suggests that the remains were those of 19th Century French prisoners of war that were imprisoned on a fort at this site. 

This excavation was conducted against the clock and the tide as it was an island that was only accessible during periods when the tide was out. The whole experience was followed up later on by  visit to Cranfield University to conduct some post excavation investigations into the human remains that we had recovered. We were also invited to view the Armoury at the Defence Academy which was a dream for all involved. 
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