Dig Hill 80 – The final push to record a WW1 Battlefield site

An archaeology Kickstarter campaign is trying to raise the funds to record the unique archaeology of a WW1 Battlefield site.

In 2015, a team of archaeologists uncovered a WW1 German strongpoint at a ridge summit called “Hill 80” near the village of Wijtschate in Belgium.

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The discovery revealed a trench fortress, virtually untouched since the conclusion of the Great War that also incorporated the adjacent farm buildings to create a formidable redoubt.

Hill 80 was eventually taken on June 1917, in the Battle of Messines, but poignantly, the 2015 excavations also encountered the remains of soldiers where they fell, both British and German.

Creator of the Kickerstarter Campaign, Simon Verdegem was part of the initial excavation team, alongside Peter Doyle, a leading military historian from the UK and Robin Schäfer an expert of the German army of both world wars.

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Their Kickstart campaign explains:

“Hundreds of casualties were suffered in the first of weeks of November 1914, most of which have no known grave. They still lie in the fields and gardens in and around Wijtschaete. With your help we might be able to give some of them an identity and a proper burial.

With your support, we plan to excavate the site and expose the battlefield in order to increase our understanding of the trench war, and of the men who fought there – before the site is lost to housing development.”

“Given the importance and unique character of this site, it requires a full-scale excavation. There should be no half measures. Without it, this unique historic resource remains under threat – as it is unlikely a commercial site investigation, which precedes a housing development, will uncover the depth of detail this site deserves.”

This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by . – You can support the project through the widget below:

Header Image Credit – Isidre blanc

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

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