Archaeologists who specialize in excavating battlefields are condemning a new television series from National Geographic, saying the program’s approach to digging up the remains of World War II soldiers is unprofessional and borders on the ghoulish.
National Geographic Channel International is defending the four-part series, “Nazi War Diggers,” scheduled to begin in Britain in May. (It has not been scheduled for the United States.) The channel says the work was supervised by licensed authorities in Latvia and Poland, that it was conducted in full view of archaeologists, and that human remains will be repatriated.
But in a statement emailed to its critics on Friday, National Geographic conceded that a video snippet used to publicize the show “did not provide important context about our team’s methodology.” Read more.
Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of at least 20 soldiers killed during the First World War after a chance discovery by a group of tourists.
The bones were pulled from the earth at the scene of the destroyed village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont, in Meuse, north-east France, after hikers spotted a bone sticking out of the ground.
Many personal belongings belonging to the deceased have also been uncovered, including ammunition, rings, watches, scissors, military books and wallets.
It is believed the location where the remains were found was a first aid station located in the basement of a house, which was completely blown apart by the impact of an artillery shell in June 1916.
Watches found amongst the bones set the time of the artillery strike to just after 11am. Read more.
HUMAN remains believed to belong to three of Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers have been unearthed during redevelopment work at James Green.
The discovery was made in recent days and the remains are now being examined by an archaeologist, Patrick Neary.
“The heads of seven of Cromwell’s men are believed to be buried there. They were killed near Ballinakill in Co Laois in 1642 and their heads were hung from the Market Cross in Kilkenny on the next market day and later buried. To date we have found what we believe are two severed heads belonging to the soldiers ,” he said.
This was at the beginning of Cromwell’s tenure and although Cromwell himself had yet to arrive in Ireland seven men (two officers and five soldiers), who were part of the English government forces were killed when they took on the Confederates. Read more.
Searchers hope to locate burial ground of Kansans killed in the Indian wars.
Having peered at the Platte River and scuffed though the Wyoming sage, the elderly gentlemen declared that it was the spot.
Below in the sand once churned by painted war ponies was the lost mass grave of their comrades who’d survived the Civil War, only to be slaughtered in the Indian wars.
It was 1927, and John Crumb and John Buchanan had taken leave of Leavenworth’s old soldiers’ home to return to where fellow troopers of the 11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry had been laid, naked and scalped, in that trench 62 years earlier.
But did anybody think to stack a few rocks as a marker this time? Apparently not.
Now, after 85 more years of flagless Memorial Days, others are at it again, trying to locate and save the old burial ground. Read more.
When it comes to carving out a career in the competitive world of archaeology these days, it’s all about finding your own niche – but few young archaeologists are carving out a future in their field quite as literally as Bristol University student Chantel Summerfield.
The 23-year-old PhD student has become the world’s only expert on arborglyphs – that is, tree graffiti; the inscriptions carved into tree trunks by soldiers with bayonets.
From bored squaddies on Salisbury Plain to terrified GIs trekking through Normandy in the wake of the D-Day invasions – each carving Chantel uncovers tells its own story of a soldier’s life.
"I’ve followed many of the First World War soldiers’ carvings from trees that once stood a few miles behind the front line on the Western Front, through to finding their graves in Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries," Chantel says.
"But with the Second World War carvings – most of which were done by American GIs as they made their way through Normandy – I’ve sometimes been able to trace the soldiers’ surviving relatives. There was one, for example, that I found on Salisbury Plain that had been inscribed by an American GI as he waited for the D-Day invasion – it simply said: ‘Frank Fearing – Hudson, Massachusetts, 1945’ followed by a love heart and the name Helen. Read more.
They have not yet begun to fight.
Brooklyn civic groups are leading a charge to discover the exact burial place of over 200 Revolutionary War soldiers killed at the dawn of the United States and dumped near the Gowanus Canal.
“These are the men who allowed America to come into existence — it’s a question that needs to be resolved,” said Marlene Donnelly, a member of the Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, which is working with archeologists to re-examine the region and urge action.
“The Battle of Gettysburg has an entire field put aside to remember it — and this one, we just don’t remember,” she added.
The grave concern is that development in and around the putrid canal, a Superfund site in the midst of a federal $500 million decade-long clean-up, could steamroll history that has already been buried too long. Read more.
Archaeologists believe that the remains of soldiers who died after Napoleon’s doomed march on Moscow have been found during the creation of a new bypass at Olecko, north east Poland.
The skeletons of some 350 people were discovered in the forgotten graveyard, after woodland was cut back to lay the new road.
“Analysis of the bones of several men buried there shows changes characteristic of people who rode on horseback for much of their lives,” archaeologist Hubert Augustyniak told the Polish Press Agency.
About half of those buried were children, and experts believe that they were from the local village. Tests confirm that the villagers suffered from a poor diet and were exposed to hard labour.
A number of coins minted between the years 1710 and 1842 was also found at the site, as well as some jewellery and an iron cross. Read more.
Tecumseh Park in downtown Chatham will be the site of a grave search beginning Monday.
Ground penetrating radar (GPR) will be used to try and locate the graves of four soldiers from the War of 1812 believed to have been buried in the park.
Chatham business entrepreneur Dan Warrener, who owns the Chatham Armoury in the park, is paying for the survey.
"If we do locate the graves, the plan would be to excavate them next year during the bicentennial of the War of 1812,” said Warrener.
Warrener, a history buff himself, said if gravesites are located in the park, it should create a great deal of local as well as U.S. interest during the bicentennial.
He said the soldiers are believed to have been buried in a location near an old fort in the park above McGregor’s Creek.
Warrener said John Sweeney, senior archaeologist with the Museum of Ontario Archaeology in London, has been advised of his plans and invited to be on site. (source)