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New book reveals findings from Gallipoli archaeological survey

Media release: 21 April 2016

Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage military historian Dr Ian McGibbon has co-edited a new book detailing the joint project between New Zealand, Australia and Turkey that has produced the first comprehensive archaeological and historical survey of the Anzac battlefield at Gallipoli.

The survey findings are presented in the book Anzac Battlefield: A Gallipoli Landscape of War and Memory which was launched recently by the Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Dan Tehan, in Melbourne.

The Survey project group with Dr Ian McGibbon sitting on the right-hand side.

The Joint Historical and Archaeological Survey project spanned over a decade, and brought together archaeologists and historians from the three countries to identify sites of historical significance from the 1915 Gallipoli campaign.

Dr McGibbon was appointed as New Zealand’s representative on the survey. He provided expert knowledge of the Gallipoli Campaign to inform the survey and participated in the survey’s field sessions each year between 2010 and 2014.

“The project was a memorable experience because of the chance it provided to become intimately acquainted with a battlefield of great significance to New Zealand,” says Dr McGibbon.

“The added bonus was the close interaction with my Australian and Turkish colleagues, which was not only very enlightening but also most enjoyable. The appearance of the book is a fitting finale to the project.”

Chief Historian Neill Atkinson says the book adds an important dimension to understanding Gallipoli.

Anzac Battlefield has brought together experts from New Zealand, Australia and Turkey who have worked alongside each other for the first time on the Gallipoli peninsula.

“The book provides new insights into various aspects of the daily lives of soldiers, including the way in which food was supplied. It also reveals the story of the construction and maintenance of the battlefield trench system, and the creation of the post-conflict commemorative landscape,” says Mr Atkinson.

The tri-nation team carried out fieldwork each year between 2010 and 2014 and mapped approximately 16 kilometres of remnant trench-lines, uncovering more than 1,200 artefacts such as jam tins, water bottles, bullets, bayonets and German-manufactured barbed wire. All items have been recorded and entrusted to the Turkish Naval Museum at Canakkale.

New Zealand’s involvement in the project was supported by Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Anzac Battlefield: A Gallipoli Landscape of War and Memory is published by Cambridge University Press. It is edited by Dr McGibbon along with Antonio Sagona, Mithat Atabay, C.J. Mackie and Richard Reid.


Updated on 2nd June 2016