DigHill80 was an archaeological project funded in large part by you, the viewers of Forgotten Weapons. Hill 80 was a German fortified position in World War One outside the Belgian town of Wijtschate. In 2015 and exploratory excavation prior to construction on the site discovered remarkably extensive and well preserved trenches. Belgian law required a minimum level of historical investigation, but the archaeologists on the site felt the site deserved a much more extensive excavation, and they set up a KickStarter to fund it.
You responded, and the dig was fully funded. It began this spring, and has just now concluded – the time frame was short because of the construction that is scheduled to begin on the site. This is not a place that can become a permanent site; it was an effort to find and record as much as possible in the brief window allowed. In addition to a multitude of artifacts found, more than 100 soldiers were recovered from the site, now able to be given proper burial in their respective national cemeteries. German, French, and British men all fought and died in these trenches.
I was hoping to be able to visit the site while the dig was underway, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to. However, thanks to Simon Verdegem (the lead archaeologist) we have a virtual tour here of the site on its final day. Thanks, Simon!
The overall findings from the dig are going to be presented in London on November 12th, and I will be attending that event. If you are interested in joining me, you can find full details and purchase tickets here: