Although the fieldwork phase of my research won’t start until April 2016 I’m always keen to get out and about and surveying things.So next week I’m helping out with a project run by Helen Ullathorne and Al Oswald, continuing a survey of the World War One practice trenches near Redmires Reservoir, overlooking Sheffield. Since 1999, Helen and the Department of Lifelong Learning have been surveying the WWI and WWII earthworks and adding to our understanding of these under-researched features.

Birdseye View of the Camp, Redmires Sheffield 1915. (Source: PicturesSheffield).
Birdseye View of the Camp, Redmires Sheffield 1915. (Source: PicturesSheffield).

Participating in this will be interesting for me, because I will meet Helen in person for the first time on Monday – but I’ve read her 2006 report on the initial years of survey many times while writing my own report on some training trenches up in Northumberland! I also met Al for the first time at Sheffield, after reading his co-authored book on Iron Age Hillforts about a dozen times for an education pack I wrote while working for the National Park.

Archaeology is a small, small world…

For all of next week (except Thursday) I’ll be out with Helen, Al, and our team – including some old hands from the DLL and others – taking another look at these earthworks. In addition to WWI and WWII trench features, we’ll be looking at the WWI Redmires Camp, which was later turned into a POW Camp. I haven’t done WWII buildings archaeology since a commercial survey for Austral Archaeology on the outskirts of Sydney waaaaaaayyy back in 2009, so I’m looking forward to it.

All of this reminds me I need to crack on with the final touches to my own WWI training trenches report on the Blaeberry Hill trenches near Rothbury, Northumberland. (It’s always the last little details that take the longest). The Coquetdale Community Archaeology group have been very patient with me – but I’ll give more info on their project, and my small role in it, in another blog post.

In the meantime, I’ll be hoping that the heatwave* will calm down by Monday, and trying to remember how to program a Leica TST.

*Yes, yes, I’m Australian and should know better, but English buildings aren’t designed for hot weather!