Free taster archaeology sessions at WWI training camp
Archaeologists at the University of Sheffield are inviting adult learners with an interest in exploring the past to join them as they study a First World War training camp at Redmires – an area in the Peak District that was used for training by the British military as they prepared for WWI.
The training camp was established to allow members of the Sheffield City Battalion to learn the skills needed for trench warfare. Its facilities were complex which illustrates the diverse range of training that was undertaken at the site.
Helen Ullathorne from the University’s Department of Lifelong Learning, which has organised the study, said: “This project is an ideal opportunity for someone who is new to archaeology to get a taste of the subject while exploring a puzzling part of Sheffield’s landscape.
“Investigating and recording landscapes at Redmires has been one of the most poignant pieces of research I have conducted. To directly connect with those who created the archaeological features is incredibly rare, particularly if related to historic events associated with WWI.”
The Redmires archaeology sessions run from 10am-4pm each day from Monday 19 June 2017 until Friday 23 June 2017 and are open to anyone, particularly mature learners over 21 years old, interested in experiencing first-hand archaeological fieldwork in practice. The sessions are free and participants can choose to come for one day or up to a week on site. The week also includes a visit to the University’s Department of Archaeology.
Helen added: “Mapping the once forgotten training trenches and features on Quarry Hill by the Department of Lifelong Learning students, enables the people of Sheffield to experience a unique landscape of the city's past and its residents. The project has also given me the chance to meet direct descendants of the men who trained at Redmires, which has been an unexpected and humbling privilege.”
Sheffield archaeologists, who have studied the site since 2015, believe Redmires was one of the largest WWI military training camps in the country. Most other similar camps were small scale and lacked the complexity of Redmires.
In 2015, a team of Sheffield students and staff carried out field and archival research at the site, which was also used for training by the Sheffield Pals – a battalion formed in September 1914 on the suggestion of two students from the University.
Formally known as the 12th Battalion Yorks and Lancaster Regiment, the Sheffield Pals became local celebrities as crowds cheered them through the streets while they marched to Redmires to train through the winter.
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