A team of historians and archaeologists from New Zealand, Australia and Turkey have made an exciting discovery while surveying the Gallipoli battlefields.
Image of the survey team with Ian McGibbon kneeling on the far left of this picture.
The second fieldwork exercise – the most significant of its kind since the First World War - has just been completed using non-invasive, advanced mapping and GPS technology which records positions accurate to within 30 centimetres. The aim is to provide detailed information about what remains of the 1915 battlefield.
The Joint Historical and Archaeological Survey is a tri-nation undertaking set up after an agreement between the Prime Ministers of New Zealand, Australia and Turkey in 2005.
Ministry for Culture and Heritage war historian Dr Ian McGibbon, New Zealand’s representative on the survey team, said this year’s work focused on both sides of the frontlines, Turkish and Allied, from Courtney’s Post to Quinn’s Post on the second ridge.
At Quinn’s Post the group discovered an area known as Malone’s Terraces, previously thought to have completely disappeared.
These terraces were created by Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone, renowned commander of the Wellington Infantry Battalion.
“When Malone’s men relieved the Australians at Quinn’s Post in June, the position was in some disarray,” Dr McGibbon said.
“Malone greatly improved the arrangements at the post, including creating the terraces as sleeping areas for close support troops. From this time Quinn’s Post, which was a vital position on which the whole Anzac defence depended, was regarded as fairly secure.”
This year the survey team also recovered more than 100 artefacts depicting life on the battlefields, including three water bottles with bullet holes, medical bottles, a tin pannikin, tin food containers, expended ammunition, glass shards, shrapnel and barbed wire fragments.
These have been handed to the Maritime Museum at Canakkale for preservation.
This year’s survey findings come at the same time the Government has announced a programme of significant projects to mark the centenary of the First World War.
Among those are the completion of the National War Memorial Park, several historical publications, a family history research database and heritage trail at places New Zealanders served during the First World War.
In addition a panel of eminent New Zealanders is in the process of being appointed to act as ambassadors, co-ordinate activities with Australia and advise the Government on the centenary commemorations.
Dr McGibbon joined twelve archaeologists, historians and researchers from Turkey and Australia to carry out the survey.
New Zealand’s involvement in the project is being supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
Updated on 23rd July 2015