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Bibliography and Resources





I have tried to limit this list to material which is either still in print or is likely to be easily available through a library. An increasing amount of material is also available on line, often for free, and I have tried to indicate this where possible.


I have also steered clear of a list journal articles in favour of offering a more general starter type book list. All the best books have extensive bibliographies which will lead you to the articles you are interested in if that is a route you wish to take.


The list is of course both subjective and out of date as soon as it is written. After all, this is one of the fastest growing areas of archaeological publication.



Introducing Conflict Archaeology


I am going to make no apology for starting with a thought provoking short book from one of the people who has been instrumental in turning conflict archaeology into a respectable academic field as well as making the inspired leap into seeing conflict and its manifestations as an aspect of memory and popular culture which needs to be studied, interpreted and recorded.


John Schofield is Head of Military Programmes at English Heritage and his book...


Combat Archaeology- material culture and modern conflict, Duckworth, 2005


...shows us why we should research this area and how the subject can be so much richer than a simple catalogue of sites and exploration of military tactics.

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Modern Studies in Conflict Archaeology


20th Century Defences in Britain an introductory guide, CBA 1996.

[Probably the best pocket Field Guide, it was designed for the Defence of Britain Project].


Barnett Tertian, Campbell Adele, Rodgers Rene [Eds], 2003, Twentieth Century Military Sites- Current approaches to their recording and conservation, English Heritage.

[Available as a PDF Download from the English Heritage Website].



Campbell Adele [Ed] 2002, Military Aircraft Crash Sites- Archaeological Guidance on their significance and future management, English Heritage.

[Available as a free PDF download from English Heritage]


Campbell Adele [Ed], Military Wall Art, guidelines to its significance, conservation and management, English Heritage 2004

[Available as a PDF Download from the English Heritage Website]


Carroll Peter N and Geist Anthony, 2002,They Still Draw Pictures: Children's Art in Wartime from the Spanish Civil War to Kosovo,University of Illinois Press.

[A timely reminder that our living witnesses don’t have to have been adults at the time and why we need to discuss conflict archaeology, not just military archaeology]


Castle Ian (Author), Hook Christa (Illustrator),2003, Osprey Campaign 193: London 1914-17- The Zeppelin Menace, Osprey Books.

[A brand new, very well illustrated study of the Zeppelin campaign over London. Castle uses Police Reports and other period documentation to track the raids over London, the effects on the ground and the British response. Read alongside Faulkner and Durrani below.]



Chamberlain Peter and Gander Terry, 1975, WW2 Fact Files Mortars and Rockets, Macdonald and Janes.


Chamberlain Peter and Gander Terry, 1975, WW2 Fact Files-Anti Aircraft Guns, Macdonald and Janes.


Cocroft W D and Thomas R J C: Cold War-building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946-1989: English Heritage 2003.


Cooksey J and Lynch T, 2007, Battlefield Archaeology, NPI Media Group.


de la Bedoyere Guy 2001, Aviation Archaeology in Britain, Shire Archaeology

[To augment the specialised English Heritage Guidelines there is very little published on the sometimes controversial subject of Aviation Archaeology. As well as being a well known Romanist and Time Team regular, Guy De La Bedoyere has an interest in 20th Century Military and Conflict Archaeology, especially Aviation [he is a qualified pilot] and has written this short primer in the Shire Archaeology series. You might find this easier to get hold of than …


de la Bedoyere Guy, 2000, Battles Over Britain- the Archaeology of the Air War, Tempus.

[…a longer study on the same subject]


Dobinson C, 1996, Twentieth Century Fortifications in England…

Vol 1.i Anti Aircraft Artillery 1914-1946, Text.

Vol 1 ii/iii/iv Anti Aircraft Artillery 1914-1946, Site Gazetteers WW1/HAA/ZAA and LAA.

Vol 1 v, Anti Aircraft Artillery 1914-1946, Sources,

Vol III Bombing Decoys of WW2.

Vol IV Operation Diver.

Vol V Operation Overlord.

Vol VIII Civil Defence in WW2, CBA 2000.

Vol X Airfield Defences in WW2, CBA 2000.

CBA, York.

[Colin Dobinsons multi volume work is held by most University and County Libraries and is quite indispensable as a starting point]


Dobinson C, 2000, Fields of Deception, English Heritage/Methuen.


Dobinson C 2001, Anti Aircraft Command, English Heritage/Methuen.


Faulkner Neil and Durrani N, 2008: The First Blitz- In search of the Zeppelin War, Tempus.

[A brand new book which shows just how much field research remains to be done about the Home Front in WW1, but also how rewarding it can be. Neil Faulkner is a leading member of the Great War Archaeology Group].


Foot W, 2006, Beaches Fields Streets and Hills, CBA Research Report 144, CBA.


Fox Richard A, 1997, Archaeology History and Custer’s Last Battle, University of Oklahoma Press.

[Richard Fox used the data from Doug Scott’s work to reconstruct what probably happened at Little Big Horn and in the process deconstructed the “Custer’s Last Stand Myth,” beloved of Hollywood. A valuable lesson in the processual study of a battlefield and the cultural implications of investigating national myths.]


Hayward James, 1994, Shingle Street-flame chemical and Psychological warfare in 1940 and the Nazi Invasion that never was, LTM Publishing.

[A salutary lesson in the importance of good research and not believing everything you are told. Hayward not only gets to as close to the bottom of the Shingle Street German Invasion myth as we are likely to get, he also opened up the issue of the Petroleum Warfare Executive and Britain’s preparedness to use Chemical Weapons in the event of an Invasion in 1940]


Hegerty C and Newsome S, 2007, Suffolk's Defended Shore- Coastal Fortifications from the Air, English Heritage.

[An example of the power of air photographs both as a research tool and in evoking a site]


Hogg Ian V, 1998, Allied artillery of WW2, Crowood Press Ltd.

[ian Hogg is the doyen of the study of Artillery and indeed of 20th Century military hardware in general and this is one of many titles from his pen, all worth a look]


Lampe David, [new edition] 2007, The Last Ditch, Britain’s resistance plans against the Nazi's, Greenhill Books.

[The first book published about the Auxiliary Home Guard, Guerrilla Units, more anecdotal than recent studies where more material has been declassified, but still gripping and valuable]


Longmate N, 1985, Hitler’s Rockets-the story of the V2's, Hutchinson.


Mackenzie S P, 1996, The Home Guard- a Military and Political History, Oxford.

[The best recent book about the Home Guard]


McCamley N J, 1998, Secret Underground Cities, Leo Cooper.


Ogley Bob, 1992, Doodlebugs and Rockets-the battle of the flying bombs, Froglets Publications.

[This book looks at the V1 and V2 campaigns largely from the perspective of Kent and south east London].


Osborne Mike, 2004, Defending Britain- Twentieth-Century Military Structures in the Landscape, Tempus.

[More detailed than the CBA Guide with more background information]


Osborne Mike, 2006, 20th Century Defences in Britain-the London Area, Osborne

also... Lincolnshire, Brasseys.

Canbridgeshire, Concrete Publications.

The East Midlands, Concrete Publications.

[These are excellent regional Guides to visible remains and the source for many a weekend run out with the camera and note book]


Osborne Mike, 2007, Pillboxes of Britain and Ireland, Tempus.

[A brand new study of the development and typology of Pill Boxes- a classic in the making]


Robertshaw Andy and Kenyon David, Due to be published Spring 2008, Digging the Trenches- the archaeology of the western front, Pen and Sword.

[Many will know Andy Robertshaw from his lecturing and from his days at the National Army Museum and now the Royal Logistics Corps Museum at Camberley, as well as his TV appearances on Two Men in A Trench and Trench Detectives, so no apologies for plugging this one. It is sure to be well written and thought provoking]

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Rogers Rene [Ed], 2003, Historic Military Aviation sites, conservation management guidance, English Heritage.

[Available as a free PDF download from English Heritage]


Peters John, 2005, Wartime Woolwich, Elgar Press.

[Peters describes life in the Woolwich Home Guard and on the Shooters Hill Z Battery and I include it as it is typical of the kind of memoir which can be really valuable for local research]


Pile General Sir Federick, 1947,The Anti Aircraft Defence of the United Kingdom from 28 July 1939 to 15 April 1945: Supplement to the London Gazette, HMSO.


Ruddy Austin J, 2003, British Anti Invasion Defences 1940-1945, Historic Military Press.

[Austin Ruddy is involved in the Pill Box Study Group and this is their handbook]


Saunders Nicholas, 2007, Killing Time the archaeology of the First World War, The History Press.

[This is a new book which has received very positive reviews and one of the first to look at the Archaeology of World War One in technical and cultural terms. Nicholas Saunders is also an expert on “Trench Art” another cultural expression of war and conflict, and has written the following…]


Saunders, N.J. 2000. Bodies of metal, shells of memory: 'Trench Art' and the Great War Re-cycled. Journal of Material Culture, Vol 5, No. 1, pp 43-67.


Saunders, N.J. 2000. Memories of Metal: Trench Art, a lost resource of the Great War. Stand To! The Journal of the Western Front Association, Vol 58, April, pp 14-17.


Saunders, N.J. 2001c. Apprehending Memory: Material Culture and War, 1919-1939. In, Peter H. Liddle and Hugh Cecil (eds), Lightning Strikes Twice: Personal Experiences of two World Wars: London: HarperCollins.


Saunders, N.J. 2001. Trench Art: A Brief History and Guide, 1914-1939. Barnsley: Leo Cooper.


Schofield J, 2004, Modern Military Matters- studying and managing the 20th Century defence Heritage of Britain- a discussion document, CBA.

[Available as a free pdf download from the Archaeological Data Service http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/library/cba/rrs.cfm Modern Military Matters sets out to explain the importance and potential of this branch of archaeology in terms of practical research agendas, another “Must Read”].


Scott Doug et al, Archaeological Perspectives on the Battle of the Little Bighorn, University of Oklahoma Press, 2000.

[This is the full report of the US National Parks Service surveys and excavations 1984-1985. The book includes detailed reports based on the artefacts, forensics, morphology and ballistics. This is a pioneering study and the methodological basis for much modern, forensic, battlefield archaeology. Read it in conjunction with the next, most recent, report...]


Scott Doug, 2004: Archaeological Mitigation of the Federal Lands Highway Plan to Rehabilitate Tour Road Route 10. Little Big Horn Battlefield Monument Montana, US National Parks Service.

[Do not be put off by the mouthful of a title. This free PDF download will give you a vivid idea of just what is possible in researching a battlefield archaeologically. You can find it at… http://www.friendslittlebighorn.com/2004scottfinalreport.pdf


Smith Victor, 2003: Front Line Kent, Kent County Council.

[A good example of a well researched general publication looking at defence chronologically.]


Thomas Roger J C, 2003, Prisoner of War Camps 1939-1948 Project Reports, English Heritage.

[Available as a free download from…

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/upload/pdf/Prisoner_of_War_Camps.pdf ]


Waricker John 2002, With Britain in mortal danger, Cerberus Books.

[A more detailed examination of the Home Guard Aux’ Units- read alongside Lampes book described above]


Wilks M, 2007,The defence of Worcestershire and the southern approaches to Birmingham in WW2, Logaston Press.

[An example of the kind of detailed, regionally focussed, research which is now possible]


Wilson D R, 2000, Air Photo Interpretation for Archaeologists, Tempus.

[it is not military specific but is a “must have,” if you are going to use "AP's"]


Britain At War Magazine has also carried regular items on Battlefield, Military and Conflict Archaeology. It has been particularly good on Home Guard Hardware, and it is worth picking up any of its first twelve issues if you come across them. At the time of writing it announced its closure, then two days later its resurrection with new management and finance. Given its past good quality it is to be hoped it can carry on. Watch the news stands on the last Friday of the month, the new publication date.


British Archaeology- the magazine of the Council for British Archaeology, regularly carries articles relating to conflict archaeology. The March 2004 edition [No 75] carried a number of useful articles about Aviation Archaeology and the text of these is available on line at http://www.britarch.ac.uk/ba/ba75/index.shtml

The magazine itself is available to CBA members and from some larger branches of W H Smiths.


The After the Battle series of publications http://www.afterthebattle.com/home.htm pioneered the “then and now” style of presenting military subjects and the landscape of war and a number of the publications deal with UK subjects. They are pricey but worth tracking down.


Mainstream academic journals such as Antiquity and Post Medieval Archaeology also increasingly also carry material relating to this subject, often related to the study of the “archaeology of the modern.” A good start is simply to Google the subject you are interested in.


As academic publishing is usually fiendishly expensive you will most likely need to visit one of the University Libraries who hold journal series, if you wish to access these. If you are not already a member of a University Faculty, Day Tickets and Reference Only Tickets are usually available for bona fide researchers although you might have to pay a fee.

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Period Sources


To get you thinking like a 1940's Royal Engineer, or Home Guard Officer formulating your local defence plan the following are invaluable...


The Official Versions...


HMSO 1933 Manual of Field Engineering Vol 1 [All Arms] and subsequent editions.


Field Service Pocket Book Part 1 Pamphlet No 7- Field Engineering 1944

[Available as a reprint from Military Library Research Service Ltd]


HMSO 1937, Infantry Training- Training and War.


The War Office 1943, Military Training Pamphlet No 55, fighting in built up areas.

[Available as a reprint from Military Library Research Service Ltd]


National Archives, 2004, The SOE Syllabus-Lessons in Ungentlemanly warfare in World War II.

[This book is a fascinating insight into British ideas of irregular warfare and the British perception of how a German Occupation worked. A number of the people involved in formulating this syllabus had been involved in setting up the Auxiliary Home Guard in 1940 and 1941].





The theorists and thinkers…


How to deal with a potential invasion and the nature resistance to such an invasion should take, absorbed many military theorists between 1939 and 1942. Some of the most influential in terms of the development of the Home Guard and its tactical doctrines are listed below.


Langdon-Davies John, The Home Guard Training Manual, John Murrey Pilot Press December 1940.

[Langdon-Davis had been a war correspondent in Spain and Finland and was awarded an OBE for his work running a Home Guard Training School in Sussex]


Levy "Yank" 1942, Guerrilla Warfare, Penguin

[bert "Yank" Levy was another ex International Brigader]


Slater Hugh, 1941, Home Guard for victory, Victor Gollancz

[Hugh Slater commanded the Anti Tank Section of 15th International Brigade and was a trainer at Osterly Park Home Guard Training School. Available as a reprint from Military Library Research Service Ltd]


Wintringham Tom, 1940, New Ways of War, Penguin Special.

[Tom Wintringham had fought in Spain with the British Battalion 15th International Brigade, briefly commanding it. He ran the HomeGuardTraining School at OsterleyPark until forced out by the War Office and was a leading theorist of irregular warfare. This is a compilation of his articles from Picture Post. Like the Home Guard you can still pick up individual copies of Picture Post with Winteringham’s articles. Today you are most likely to find them on E-Bay, or at Militaria and Antique Fairs. A wartime copy in good condition is currently around £5]


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The Internet has transformed the ability of researchers to investigate and communicate and there are a number of specialist sites, as well as general sites, which are of use to the military and conflict archaeologist and researcher.


There is actually a one stop shop for archaeology links…


The Council For British Archaeology maintains an excellent web site and links service at


This includes links to the Defence of Britain Project, the Archaeological Data Service [ADS] for hard to obtain or out of print reports and resources, and links to just about any archaeological organisation in Britain which has a web presence. Put the CBA in “favourites” and you won’t go far wrong.


http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/ is another good place to start with many excellent, downloadable resources.


http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.1540 is the web enquiry page for the National Monument record in Swindon. Here you can request information about scheduled monuments, historic photographs and above all Air Photographs of an area you might be interested in. It is best to book an appointment and visit the search room in person, but there are search services and it is possible to obtain copies of material by post.


Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland, National Monument Record Scotland has various Databases on line at…


The RCAHMS has its Air Photo Archive on line and it is a fantastic resource for anyone researching north of the Border- English Heritage take note.


http://jura.rcahms.gov.uk/NMW/start.jsp enables you to search Welsh Records held by CADW, and the RCAHM Cymru, amongst others.


http://www.ehsni.gov.uk/built/owning.htm is the website for the Environment and Heritage Service of Northern Ireland which has a list of scheduled monuments.


The National Archives [formerly the Public Records Office] at Kew has online catalogues and guides to research, including military research. The website is... http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/


Some local authorities also have their Historic Environment/Sites and Monuments Records available on line. Essex is one…




You can search most online resources through the Archaeological Data Service- http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/ enter the website and choose search by resource, using keywords and ticking the resource you want to check.


Another Portal Site is the new http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/gateway


Other very useful sites include…



This is the website for the Glasgow University, Centre for Battlefield Archaeology. The first in the UK and it is run by Tony Pollard, who many will recognise from Two Men in a Trench on BBC2 and from the recent coverage of the Vampire Dugout excavation. The site contains useful resources and links some related to the Centre's work.



…which is the website of the Pill Box Study Group and it contains much useful material.



The Fortress Study Group is an international Society for anyone interested in fortifications. There is an excellent set of International links on the site.



This site carries information about the Auxiliary Home Guard.



...is the website for the No Mans Land Project who have pioneered high quality archaeology on the Western Front of WW1.



…is the Blog for a project involving No Man’s Land which is taking place at Messines Ridge.



The Great War Archaeology Group is a relatively new organisation formed with an eye to promoting the archaeology of the Great War and the years immediately before and after. GWAG sets out to be broadly internationalist, anti war and anti Imperialist but whether or not you agree with their political stance they are doing some very interesting work. Members have been involved in the innovative work on the first Blitz and the crash sites of Zeppelins L31 and L48 as well as the researching the development of the Tank in Lincoln and sites relating to the Great Arab Revolt in Jordan.



…is the website of the Palmerston Forts Society which helps puts what happened in the 20th Century in context.



…is the website of the Battlefields Trust and has a number of excellent resources including reports on British Battlefields of all periods. Again, it puts the modern in context as well as highlighting conservation and management issues.



…is an excellent site with information, largely about as you might expect Kent. It covers all periods, not just WW1 and WW2.


http://www.redkitebooks.co.uk/AA/ex06_L48_Post%20ExcavationReport.html is a preliminary post excavation report on the excavation of the crash site of Zeppelin L48 at Theberton in Suffolk.


Finally I must mention Jeremy Flack’s Website about his 20th Century Military Structures Project http://www.freewebs.com/20thcenturymilitarystructures/index.htm You might have spoken to Jeremy at the workshop weekend. He is an author specialising in military subjects, particularly aviation related, but this project is no less than an attempt to place a database of locations and photographs of all known 20th Century Military Structures in the UK On Line. Jeremy sees the site as a portal to link sites, groups and individuals researching and attempting to preserve these structures as well as those who served on them or remember them in other ways. It is a huge ambition which illustrates quite how much of the running in this subject has been made by committed individuals.

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This section is designed to supply some background information for anyone who is not familiar with the way archaeologists working today, approach a research project of any period.


The best single volume introduction to contemporary archaeology is...


Renfrew C and Bahn P, 2004, Archaeology Theory Method and Practice [4th Revised Edition]. Methuen.

[it is a doorstop of a book but packed with easily accessible information and case studies. A must have...].


Hunter J and Ralston I 2006, Archaeological Resource Management in the UK, 2nd Revised Edition, Sutton.

[This is the book to explain the legal and administrative structures of modern British Archaeology. An essential read if you are going to do fieldwork of any kind, or seek research partners or funding].


Today you cannot escape a discussion of the theoretical basis of archaeological work, and quite right too. We are not just collecting catalogues of data, we are filtering and interpreting that data and need to be able to explain how and why we do it. This can be daunting to someone not used to this way of describing work, especially someone from outside the University environment where much of the running on Archaeological Theory is made, but fortunately there is a very good introduction to the subject…


Johnson Mathew, 1999, Archaeological Theory an introduction, Wiley/Blackwell.

[Mathew Johnson is the Head of the Archaeology Department at the University of Southampton and has performed the invaluable service of making archaeological theory accessible through this short, but very comprehensive and witty, study.]


Archaeological Theory is an acquired taste for many but give this a try. If nothing else it will help you see which particular camp a professional archaeologist comes from when you read their work, or hear a talk and maybe it will help you articulate your own ideas.



Reenacting/Living History/Live Interpretation


Considering its popularity both as a teaching tool and in public events, not to mention the fact that it now provides an income, full or part time to many individual interpreters, traders and craftspeople, very little has been published on Reenacting/Living History and that which has is mostly of the “Coffee Table” type, strong on images but with relatively little detail or analysis.


Two of these general introductions which can be found reasonably easily are…


Elliot-Wright Philipp J C, 2000, Living History, Brassey’s




Horsler Val, 2003, Living the Past, Weidenfeld and Nicolson/English Heritage.


Horsler’s book is by a short margin the more detailed and thoughtful.


The Monthly magazine Skirmish carries articles about Reenactment/Living History of all periods including debates about differing approaches and ethics. The best of these can be very good. Tony Pollard also writes a regular column on battlefield archaeology.


The November 2007 issue of Skirmish No54 carried an interesting interview with Andy Robertshaw “Time to Talk- Recreation or Recreation,” which is worth reading if you are interested in this aspect of the work. You can often obtain back copies of Skirmish at militaria and reenactor fairs, the magazine has a stand at many of the larger ones, or on line at http://www.skirmishmagazine.com/previousissues.html


Reenactment or Living History events are now a major part of the Heritage Industry Summer Season, with some events attracting an international community of participants and audience

As an introduction to the range of events presented, the website for Event Plan


… carries much useful material, including a brief history of re-enactment.


Event Plan is run by Howard Giles, formerly Head of the Special Events Unit at English Heritage and a pioneer of the large scale public show. He also helped organise the famous re-enactment for the camera of the “Battle of Orgreave,” [Artangel for Channel 4] an incident from the 1984-85 Miners Strike, showing that living history and re-enactment is not just confined to stately homes and major wars but can also address more recent history.


For a flavour of how Reenactors see themselves, not to mention the authorities and MOPs [Members of the Public] look at the multi-period…




and the comprehensive, quirky and opinionated…




…both have interesting, often extremely useful and thought provoking discussion threads not just on the nuts and bolts issues such as “authenticity,” what is it and can it ever be achieved? and arguments about the use of first person or third person impressions, but also the more political and abstract such as “should women re-enact men?” “Why are there relatively few black or Asian reenactors?” and perhaps most contentiously “What are the issues which surrounded portraying the Nazi Germany, especially NSDAP party organisations.”


As well as the forums, individual groups often have interesting web sites and good links. Here I would point you in the direction of just two typical examples being groups I know personally...


La Columna http://www.lacolumna.org.uk/ offers a view of an international event, the Spanish Civil War, approached by an international community of reenactors.


The 10th Essex WW1 Living History group also have a very useful website at http://www.actofwar.co.uk/essex/


...and while not strictly speaking a Living History Forum our own HMVF houses a huge amount of information and expertise in this area.

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Equipment, Uniforms and Finds Identification


When it comes to identifying small finds from military related sites there are a number of places to start.


The books published by Osprey Publishing cover virtually any military subject in which you might possibly be interested, from strategy and tactics, to equipment and uniforms, in a clearly written and well illustrated way. The books are descriptive rather than analytical but none the worse for that. They are reasonably priced and generally well researched, especially the more recent titles. Look at the comprehensive company website…




Pen and Sword Books also publish a range of military titles and sometimes offer discounts on some of their list from their website http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/


If you are looking for books relating to military and conflict archaeology, as well as trying Amazon [or even your local bookshop], there are two specialist on-line, military book retailers which I have used…








I have found titles on these which were not listed as available on Amazon and sometimes available at a cheaper price, so between the three you will probably find more or less anything you are looking for if you are researching military sites, the people who used them and the history and doctrine behind them.


The Military Library Research Service reprints specialist technical manuals on subjects such as Ordnance types as well as other period military grey literature or ephemera. It has some very valuable material at…





On an excavation site, aside from generic period material equally available to civilians you are most likely to come across personal items such as elements of webbing and web equipment, buckles, strap ends, snaps etc and the best introductory guide to this material is


Brayley Martin, 2005, British Web Equipment of the Two World Wars, Crowood Press.


Brayley has also authored or co authored books on British Military Uniforms and Uniforms of the women’s services.

Brayley Martin and Ingram Richard, 2007, The World War II Tommy: British Army Uniforms European Theatre 1939-45, Crowood Press.

Brayley Martin and Ingram Richard, 2001, World War II British Women's Uniforms in Colour Photographs, Crowood Press.

Not forgetting the international aspect of what you might find in the UK

Brayley Martin, 2006, American Web Equipment 1910-1967, Crowood Press.

These give you an idea of the kind of things members of the services carried or used which you might find archaeologically.

Buttons and badges, which you can use to identify the units represented on a site, are well dealt with in a number of books, [often aimed at detectorists, the source of many such finds] and on websites such as…




For weapon, equipment and vehicle parts you would need the period manuals and here the best source is the The Military Library Research Service, and http://www.mark.clubaustin.co.uk/ as well as, as always, E-Bay. You can also pick up originals at Militaria Fairs and view them at regimental museum archives and similar regional and national collections. This last source is also likely to have the more detailed material which was classed as Secret and seldom found its way onto the Militaria market.


The Historic Military Vehicles Forum is also a mine of information…


I know from experience, if you want to know something about a period vehicle or the kit they carried, someone there will know, or know a person who does…


Of course as in any branch of finds analysis a good way of getting to know the subject is to handle material and a lot of military and civilian material is still available on the surplus and militaria market, either in original, or high quality reproduction aimed at Reenactor/Living History practitioners.


Soldier of Fortune based in Wales, is the largest of these companies and they have a comprehensive website as well as publishing an illustrated catalogue. I will make no value judgements about some of what they sell. You can decide for yourself if you want to buy the Adolf Hitler European Tour T-Shirt, or SS Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler, Beer Mugs. SoF can be found at…





There is also a thriving militaria market where you can get to see original material, documents, kit, weapons and personal items. Much can be had on E-Bay, but the best material, and if you get lucky the best prices, are to be had at the various Militaria Fairs, held around the country. The largest are The Kent Messenger War and Peace Show, held at the Whitbread Hop Farm at Beltring in Kent in July; the multi period Military Odyssey at the Kent County Show Ground Detling, held over the August Bank Holiday, and the fairs at The Three Counties Show Ground at Malvern and the National Agricultural Show Ground at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire.


Smaller Fairs are held in many parts of the Country, a particular favourite of mine is the one held at Chatham Historic Dockyard on the Second Sunday in the month.




But remember, when it comes to finds- on any excavation of a known or suspected military site the possibility of Unexploded Ordnance [uXO] is always present. Indeed UXO has also turned up selling as battlefield pick ups on militaria stalls at markets and shows.








The golden rule is “If in doubt don’t touch.”








Make sure, if you don’t already have cover in your team, that you know how to call in Explosive Ordnance Disposal [EOD] expertise.



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National Museums

The traditional way of displaying military history is the regimental museum and archive of which Firepower is an example…



…and there is probably a museum for most if not all regiments which have ever served in the British Army as well as the other armed services such as the Royal Navy at Portsmouth http://royalnavalmuseum.org/ and the RAF at Hendon in north London and Cosford in the West Midlands http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/ .


The biggest and most evolved Museum of this kind in the UK is probably The National Army Museum in Chelsea, http://www.national-army-museum.ac.uk/. As well as its gallery and cinema spaces the Museum hosts a weekly lunchtime lecture on Thursdays and regular one and two day, academic conferences. While many of the smaller museums, often run on a shoestring and kept alive by the enthusiasm of volunteers are mines of information.


However it is fair to say that the way we present such history is evolving along with the growth of Conflict Archaeology as a subject. In many larger museums, those which can afford to refresh their displays and particularly those with a strong education remit, the experience of the whole community, military and civilian and the wider effects of war are now the subject of study and display.


The Imperial War Museum is probably the best example of this trend dealing with Politics and Government at The Cabinet War Rooms; the Technology of war at RAF Duxford and HMS Belfast and the civilian experience of war on the Home Front and issues such as the Holocaust and Espionage as well as the artistic response to war in its main gallery and exhibition spaces in both its Lambeth and northern branches.


The gateway to the collection is…http://london.iwm.org.uk/… from which you can also access its catalogues of documents, images and film for research purposes.

A final thought


After all the books and websites there is one book which I would urge you to try and get hold of to show what can be done with conflict archaeology in a landscape and cultural context...


Anyone who has been lucky enough to visit Ieper [Ypres aka “Wipers”] in Belgium has probably visited the Flanders Field Museum.


In 2006 the museum mounted an exhibition called De Laaste Getuige [The Last Witness] which took as its theme the fact that with the passing of the last veterans of WW1 the landscape of the western front was indeed the last witness and it was for archaeologists and historians to tease out the story from that landscape. This the exhibition did with great creativity and humanity.


Even if you don't read Flemish, the book of the exhibition...


De Laatste Getuige- Het oorlogslandschap vande Westhoek, by Piet Chilens, Doniniek Dendrooven and Hannelore Decoodt...


...is a terrific piece of work with some stunning photography showing just how war carves up a landscape and how that landscape can both hide and reveal the scars of war in a telling way, ninety years on. It also puts the experience of the western front in the context of the lives of the civilian population before and after the war.


Funded by the EU Culture 2000 Programme, a conference, Military Archaeology and Air Photography was held to coincide with the exhibition and the publication of the conference papers is due. This will include the paper Kevin Barton and I wrote about the documentary and geophysical investigation of the Shooters Hill ZAA Battery.


The conference showed what a large debt archaeology owes to the work of military air photo interpreters and to the aircrew, of all nationalities, who took the pictures we use. This debt is both in terms of the techniques they developed in wartime which we still use today, such as Stereoscopy, but also the sheer quantity and quality of the photographic resource which we can bring to bear on wider archaeological research questions.


Whether we are looking at the normal archaeological palimpsest of some 10000 years, or following wartime Photo Interpreters like Constance Babbington Smith at the Allied Central Interpretation Unit [ACIU], Danesfield House, RAF Medmenham and trying to spot changes over a matter of weeks or months, on a WW2 research project, it is a reminder that, however awful the experience and consequences of war, one of the most destructive of human activities sometimes has a positive result in quite unexpected ways.


I hope there is something in the resource lists posted above to set you thinking or better still set you doing more of your own research. I look foreward to hearing and talking about it. Meanwhile please feel free to add your own favorite books and resources to this thread.


Best wishes


Andy Brockman


10 April 2008

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