A detailed long-term archaeological, historical, technological and genealogical study to help promote multi-disciplinary international study of First World War sites, attract a new generation of battlefield archaeologists, and encourage the perpetual preservation of a unique segment of battlefield in the village of La Boisselle, Somme.

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At the invitation of the landowners, in January 2011 a team of military historians commenced a long-term study of a unique piece of First World War battleground. Bordering the village of La Boisselle at the heart of the Somme battlefield the sector was known to the British troops as the ‘Glory Hole’. Having lain practically undisturbed since 1918, archaeology will reveal a host of features including evidence of French, British and German occupation spanning the evolution of trench warfare. The ground was also extensively undermined, and with the assistance of the Royal Engineers and local French experts GIEOS (Groupe d’Intervention et d’Etude d’Ouvrages Souterrains), it is planned to explore, survey and record one of most important and labyrinthine tunnel systems on the Western Front.

A British tunneller working in chalk on the Somme in 1916. Reproduced courtesy Imperial War Museum. Ref: HU87951

Working alongside landowners, archaeologists, local and regional specialists and authorities, museums, archives and international partners, the project has several objectives: to encourage the long-term preservation of the historic landscape for the benefit of future generations, to introduce fresh generations of archaeologists into the new discipline of First World War battlefield archaeology, to integrate the local population and wider public into the project, and to produce the most complete and multi-faceted examination of a Western Front battleground ever undertaken. We hope you find the information provided here interesting. Please visit the site regularly for news updates. If you have any information that may be useful to the project, we would be pleased to hear from you.

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