The night of 19th July 1916 saw a push by Australian and British forces along the Aubers ridge in an attempt to break the German line. Both sides suffered massive losses with the Australians taking the worst casualties.
Many of the fallen Australian and British were unable to be recovered, these bodies were suspected to have been removed by the Germans. German records detail an order for the digging of graves to accommodate 400 bodies in the days following the battle. 8 pits appeared at Pheasant Wood, Fromelles on aerial photographs taken by the Allies on 29th July 1916 by which time 5 and part of a sixth had been backfilled.
Ongoing excavations have shown these pits to be mass graves containing an estimated 400 men both British and Australian. InterArchive was visited this sensitive site in 2009.
The InterArchive team visited Edinburgh in 2009 to sample at the excavations in Constitution Street. The excavations form part of the expansions to the city’s tram system and uncovered a previously unknown area of burials next to the South Leith church of St. Mary’s. The oldest church on the site dates back to a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary in 1483.
The city of Mechelen in central Belgium sits midway between Brussels and Antwerp. The excavations at Sint Romboutskerkhof cathedral in the city centre form part of a controversial underground parking development project. The cathedral is an important archaeological site and is thought to have been founded as a small chapter house in 972.
InterArchive took samples from the upper layers in 2009 and plans to return to the site in 2010 to sample some of the oldest burials.
Excavations at the University of York’s own expansion site have revealed evidence of Roman buildings and a landscape that been significantly altered by the occupiers.
As part of these excavations skeletal remains were discovered and InterArchive was invited to take samples from two burials in 2008 and 2009.