Hands-on event reveals First World War finds

Luke Barber with a flare pistol PICTURES: DEREK MARTIN DM1516837a
Luke Barber with a flare pistol PICTURES: DEREK MARTIN DM1516837a

CHILDREN became archaeologists for the day at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday.

They were able to have a go at metal detecting in specially-made artificial grass pits and handle objects from the First World War.

Justin Russell DM1516828a

Justin Russell DM1516828a

The archaeology open day was part of the Training For War project, which has been looking into the stories behind the Shoreham Army Camp.

Experts Justin Russell from Archaeology South-East and Luke Barber from the Sussex Archaeological Society were on hand to share their collections in an interactive handling session in the museum garden.

Both have been involved with the project from the start, offering guidance to the volunteers involved.

On display were objects uncovered as part of two metal-detecting training sessions and one mini-excavation with Worthing College students and volunteers on the site of Shoreham Army Camp, above Buckingham Park and on Slonk Hill.

Nine-year-old Sophia Dekkers DM1516842a

Nine-year-old Sophia Dekkers DM1516842a

There were also items from Justin’s private collection, including a gas mask, shell shards and a glass iodine ampoule.

He showed a section of German barbed wire, which he explained was larger than the British version, and demonstrated how a flare pistol would have been used.

Project co-ordinator Gail Mackintosh said: “The open day provided a great opportunity for museum visitors and staff to get hands-on with artefacts from the front lines, as well as objects uncovered on the site of Shoreham Army Camp.

“Expert archaeologists gave fantastic insights into the collections, which included objects such as practice grenades of the type used by soldiers training at Shoreham and fragments of shell actually found on the front lines in France.

Gail Mackintosh, project co-ordinator DM1516818a

Gail Mackintosh, project co-ordinator DM1516818a

“Children and grown-ups alike enjoyed the challenge of our mini metal-detecting fields and the day raised awareness of our next project events, which include a walking tour in August and a final stop for our touring exhibition at Marlipins Museum in Shoreham in September.”

She said the archaeology training had been provided with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, helping the volunteers to bring together and uncover new stories about Shoreham’s First World War camp.

The open day also linked in with the 25th anniversary of the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology, giving people the chance to discover first-hand the objects and clues archaeologists use to find out about the First World War.

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