Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.689664
Title: Making sense of subterranean conflict : engaging landscapes beneath the Western Front, 1914-2015
Author: Leonard, Matthew
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 9237
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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Abstract:
Through the adoption of a modern conflict archaeology framework this work represents the first interdisciplinary study of the subterranean landscapes of the Western Front. Research areas were confined to places where the geology allowed for work underground to be carried out, but the findings of this thesis are representative of the Western Front as a whole. Relatively little information has been published on the underground conflict during the First World War, and what there is tends to focus on the military history of events, places and the units involved. The work presented here interrogated the human experience of life in these subterranean places, combining an assessment of the soldiers' corporeal engagement with these complex modern conflict landscapes, and the material culture they contain. Implicit in this approach is an understanding of the Western Front, and particularly its subterranean elements, as being a deeply sensorial palimpsest. By assessing the underground world of the Western Front in this manner this thesis aims to contribute new and valuable data to the archaeological and anthropological record of the conflict in Northern Europe. Extensive archaeological and anthropological research was conducted in many different subterranean environments in Northern France with an emphasiS placed on the sensorial nature of these under-researched places. Despite archaeology and anthropology being of prime importance, the study of military history, war art, tourism studies and literature all contributed to my theoretical framework. Modern conflict archaeology inherently recognises the complexities and ambiguities of modern warfare, and appreciates the potential of many disciplines to contribute to a holistic study of these powerful physical and metaphysical places while prejudicing none. As this research is so far unique, it involved varied theoretical approaches and the development of new archaeological methodologies. The fieldwork dimension was only possible with the help of an experienced team, as the subterranean landscapes of the Western Front are too dangerous to investigate alone. Implicitly recognised here is the knowledge that modern conflict landscapes are dynamic and heavily contested places; stilllethal palimpsests that represent diverse social and cultural attitudes. The research for this thesis therefore required a particular sensitivity, as well as a close relationship with locals, landowners, politicians and many different nationalities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.689664  DOI: Not available
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