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Gallipoli Survey Effort to Resume

26 August 2011

Gallipoli Survey Effort to Resume

Ministry for Culture and Heritage war historian Ian McGibbon heads back to Gallipoli next month for the second field session of the joint historical and archaeological survey of the Anzac battlefield. He will link up with Turkish and Australian historians and archaeologists in this tri-nation effort.

The survey, which began last year, is the outcome of an agreement between the prime ministers of Turkey, Australia and New Zealand in 2005. It will provide detailed information about what remains of the 1915 battlefield on which New Zealand, Australian and Turkish troops fought.

The survey is confined to the area in which the Australia New Zealand Army Corps operated from 25 April to 6 August 1915, defending a tiny enclave --- the so-called Anzac Area, as specified in the Treaty of Lausanne ending the war. New Zealand lost more than 2700 men during the ill-fated campaign.

‘One of the chief benefits of the survey is the opportunity to get closely alongside Turkish historians and archaeologists’, says Ian McGibbon. ‘This will assist us as we approach the centenary in 2015 in developing a more balanced picture of the campaign.’

The survey involves recording in detail, using modern archaeological techniques, everything that remains of the original battlefield --- trenches, tunnels, dugouts, tracks and relics. It does not include any digging, though ground penetrating radar will be used later in the project to detect tunnels.

The survey’s initial focus is on the area between Lone Pine and Quinn’s Post, where the road runs through what was no man’s land in 1915. Last year the survey team surveyed 4000 metres of both Anzac and Turkish trenches in the vicinity of Johnston’s Jolly and Courtney’s Post cemeteries, discovered numerous tunnels and located about 70 artefacts (which are now lodged in the military museum in Canakkale). The second session will continue the process of mapping the trench systems in this area.

New Zealand’s involvement in the project is being supported by both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

ENDS

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