The largest ever investigation of the Gallipoli battlefield — the five-year Joint Historical and Archaeological Survey of the Anzac Battlefield — has now been completed. New Zealand’s representative, Dr Ian McGibbon of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, has just returned after spending a month on the Gallipoli Peninsula carrying out the fifth and final field session of the survey.
Plugge's Plateau above Anzac Cove. Image courtesy of Dr Ian McGibbon.
Involving archaeologists, historians and researchers from Turkey, Australia and New Zealand, this project began in 2009. It was the outcome of an agreement between the prime ministers of the three countries in 2005.
Members of the international survey team with Dr Ian McGibbon sitting on the right. Image of courtesy of Dr Ian McGibbon.
In all, during the five field sessions more than 16,000 metres of trench were surveyed, more than a 1000 features and 1100 relics recorded. The whole front line was covered during the survey, including trenches and positions on both sides of the line.
Surveying a vestige of the Big Sap near the Anzac Commemorative Site. Image courtesy of Dr Ian McGibbon.
During the final field session 2400 metres of trench and 24 earthworks were surveyed. More than 135 relics were located and nine have been deposited in a local museum.
Some important New Zealand sites were surveyed. For Dr McGibbon the highlight was surveying outposts in the northern part of the battlefield that were mainly manned by New Zealand troops in 1915. At Outpost No 1 he was especially pleased to pinpoint the site of the Māori Pah, the camp of the Māori Contingent when it first arrived at Gallipoli, as well as several other finds. “We found lots of relics there, including a New Zealand uniform button, and everyday items such as a rusty spoon and pieces of broken rum jar.
A view of the valley where the Māori Contingent camped when it arrived at Gallipoli. Image courtesy of Dr Ian McGibbon.
“There were also some very well formed dugouts. There are still well defined trenches on top of Outpost No 1 that the Māori helped other New Zealand and Australian soldiers to defend,” says McGibbon.
Considerable progress was made on the book that will be published next year to provide an accessible record of the survey’s work.
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Updated on 23rd July 2015