rorkesdriftvc.com Forum Index


rorkesdriftvc.com
Discussions related to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
Reply to topic
Harold Raugh


Joined: 25 May 2008
Posts: 211
Location: Heidelberg, Germany (U.S. Army)
Reply with quote
Gentlemen:

Here are some references for AZW-related battlefield archaeology:


Pollard, T. “The Mountain is Their Monument: An Archaeological Approach to the Landscape of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.” In Fields of Battle: Terrain in Military History, ed. Peter Doyle and Matthew R. Bennett, 117-136. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002; reprinted in GeoJournal Library 64 (2002): 117-136.

Pollard, T. “’Place Ekowe in a State of Defence': The Archaeological Investigation of the British Fort at KwaMondi, Eshowe, Zululand.” Bar International Series 958 (2001): 229-236.

Pollard, Tony, et al. “Survey and Excavation of the Zulu War Fort at Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.” Journal of Conflict Archaeology 1, no. 1 (2005): 133-180. This article provides the results of a topographic and geophysical survey, combined with metal detecting and trial trenching, at the site of the British fort at Eshowe, KwaZulu, used by the British in the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War.

Webley, L. “Archaeological Investigations at the Battlefield of Rorke's Drift, Northern Natal.” Southern African Field Archaeology 2, no. 1 (1993): 24–34; reprinted as “Archaeological Investigations at the Battlefield of Rorke’s Drift.” Journal of the Anglo Zulu War Historical Society 8 (December 2000). This article reports archaeological excavations conducted between 1983 and 1993 of the hospital foundations, commissariat store, and other venues at the site of the Defense of Rorke’s Drift, 22/23 January 1879.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Harold
View user's profileSend private message
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
Reply with quote
Chris

Many thanks for your account of the 130th. Did Konigkramer hint at any particular reason for having a(nother) dig, or suggest why, how or whom such a dig might help? Did you get the impression he was speaking for AMAFA or simply personally?

You'll remember our little thread in August on the topic of proposed digs at Isandlwana!

Peter
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Bill Berndt


Joined: 29 Apr 2007
Posts: 67
Location: Allentown, PA, USA
Reply with quote
Rich and Double D:

The most interesting portion of the archeological investigation of the Custer fight after the fire is what you have mentioned. The fire cleared much of the grasses and allowed metal detectors and proper archeological techniques to find buried cartridge cases. Ballistics experts then studied them all and were able to track the positions of individual soldiers across the expanse of the battlefield by matching the firing pin and extractor markings from individual weapons. Not really possible to determine the individual's identity, but following a particular weapon across the battlefield can be enlightening. For example, finding a weapon in action at the ford at the base of Medicine Tail Coulee and the same weapon in action on Custer Ridge tells something in itself, if only personal survival.

Too bad that couldn't have happened at Isandlwana. Could have followed Durnford's troops from initial contact all the way back to the final stand near the camp. Coll would be in heaven (just kidding...we all would)

Bill
View user's profileSend private message
KZN Battlefield Archaeology
Chris


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 180
Location: S.A.
Reply with quote
Peter Ewart wrote:

Chris
Many thanks for your account of the 130th. Did Konigkramer hint at any particular reason for having a(nother) dig, or suggest why, how or whom such a dig might help? Did you get the impression he was speaking for AMAFA or simply personally?
You'll remember our little thread in August on the topic of proposed digs at Isandlwana!
Peter


Hi Peter ,

I seem to be having some problem in posting

Have sent you a PM

Chris
View user's profileSend private message
Coll
Guest

Reply with quote
Bill

There is definitely something in what you say.

It might be possible to track the two troops on the plain as they fought the fighting withdrawal, finding out, at least getting a rough idea where they stopped each time to fire a volley, perhaps as far as the donga nearest the camp.

Same goes for up on the ridge, with Raw and Roberts' troops, following them back to the spur and down to the low ground to the North.

The camp area, I imagine, will have been picked clean, but outlying areas, such as those mentioned above, as well as where Maj. Russell was overrun and where Cavaye, Dyson and Mostyn were positioned.

I know there are types of ground survey machines, like x-ray vision, which can detect ground disturbance and anomalies.

I remember reading somewhere, that a period of time after the battle, (several months?) it was possible to see the circular positions of the tents on the ground. An impossible task now though.

Wouldn't it have been fantastic if such an accomplishment was made, as in, tracing where all the tents were placed !

However, that's just wishful thinking on my part.

Coll

PS. BTW, you were right last year, something did happen that affected my judgement and mood, on the topic that ended up closed.

My apologies.
Bill Berndt


Joined: 29 Apr 2007
Posts: 67
Location: Allentown, PA, USA
Reply with quote
Coll:

I share your interest in any technology that would enhance our knowledge of the battle. As you indicate, there probably isn't much more that can be done in that vein at Isandlwana, but, who knows?

On the other issue, no need to apoligize to me. I wasn't offended, and do share your admiration for Durnford's bravery, concern for his soldiers of the NNH, and his sense of honor.

Bill
View user's profileSend private message
Tracing Tents
Chris


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 180
Location: S.A.
Reply with quote
Coll wrote:

I know there are types of ground survey machines, like x-ray vision, which can detect ground disturbance and anomalies.

I remember reading somewhere, that a period of time after the battle, (several months?) it was possible to see the circular positions of the tents on the ground. An impossible task now though.

Wouldn't it have been fantastic if such an accomplishment was made, as in, tracing where all the tents were placed !

However, that's just wishful thinking on my part.

Coll


Not really wishful thinking

I am nowhere near justified to speak -- but I think that using the latest technology and methodologies -- you may have your wishes. It will be long , tedious , tendentious -- & -- expensive

I assume that the tents would have been erected in proper British army style according to regs. Find as many written records as possible , traces of any evidence surviving , and do the mapping and tracing from there.

I think that it is Jamie that has a very nice image with a layer superimposed showing what it might have looked like with the tents present.

It calls for detective work of the highest order. Scientists first -- TV crews second. A wonderfu project -- waiting for a "Dr Watson" Smile

Chris
View user's profileSend private message
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
Reply with quote
Chris/Harold/Bill/Coll et al

Many thanks for the links to the various battlefield archaeology sites, which I've now looked at, and also for the posts on the Maps & Mapping thread. I'm all for every angle being investigated & am very interested in archaeology anyway (I have a metal detector & have noted the coming together a little of the archaeological & detectorist communities in recent years).

What worries me, however, is the interpetation of any findings. Firstly, a purpose is needed. Are there some important aims in mind? Are any important or unknown aspects of the battle expected to be solved or clarified? What is unknown at the moment? How can these questions (if any) be answered? I can certainly see many artefacts being dug up in the way of cartridge cases etc., but to what purpose? For example, the route of Durnford's retreat is understood, or the position of the original imperial firing line approximately known (but possible disputed). I believe the last "dig" supposedly raised questions about the position of the firing line, but on, perhaps, flimsy evidence?

Is it really possible, after all the disturbances of the 1880s (hardly to be under-estimated) that any modern finding can be positively identified as being picked up anywhere near where the item(s) fell on 22 January? Any cartridge? Any bone? By the mid-1880s, when so much junk and so many bones had been moved so many times and so far, the site cannot have resembled anything remotely near to what it had been on the afternoon of 22 Jan 1879. A collection of cartridges would not convince me at all that they'd been fired at the same spot on 22 Jan. I can see that soil disturbance techniques might be helpful, though.

Perhaps I'm being too sceptical. But what, exactly, could be achieved to increase our knowledge of the battle? Either way, I agree with Chris - keep the TV cameras well away!

Peter
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Coll
Guest

Reply with quote
Peter

I understand what you're saying, but there could be benefits.

Although Isandlwana was only a temporary camp, after the battle it lay quite undisturbed for several months, before the first search parties could do anything about the site, burials, retrievals, etc.

Therefore, there could be ground disturbance present in the layer from 130 years ago, which could be detected, as the camp was fairly large, and there were a lot of men moving around.

Also, of interest, is the possible identification of Raw's and Durnford's points-of-contact, which, although might be interpreted several ways, could give some rough idea of where Raw did encounter the Zulus, as I think his men and Roberts' did fire several volleys while retreating back to the spur.

Additionally, Col. D.'s initial contact with the Zulus, may assist in identifying at least a more accurate distance and position, perhaps also finding where Nourse and his few men were holding, before being supported by the N.N.H. on their route back.

So, finding the actual camp area and initial 2 points-of-contact, could cause some more discussion.

There might also be a bit more to go on, regards Cavaye, Dyson and Mostyn's position and retreat.

If this was done right, it would be very interesting indeed.

Coll
Having your wishes come true
Chris


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 180
Location: S.A.
Reply with quote
Greetings & Salutations ,

Bare with me please -- a little off topic


Coll the guys ( wienies) at Google Earth seem to be ready to make your wishes come true Smile

The very latest version of GE -- Version 5 has a new special Historical "Time-Machine"

You can find out all about it here

http://earth.google.com/tour.html#v=2


An hour by hour historical vision of Isandlwana -- from space

( At one time manned heavier than air flight was thought of as being "Science-Fiction" )


Move over "Murphy"


Chris
View user's profileSend private message
Tents Placing
Chris


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 180
Location: S.A.
Reply with quote
Coll wrote:


Wouldn't it have been fantastic if such an accomplishment was made, as in, tracing where all the tents were placed !

However, that's just wishful thinking on my part.

Coll



Hi Coll

I am sure that you have seen this

http://www.zuluwars.co.za/images/stories/Posters/Isandlwana%20CampProperty.jpg

How accurate is it Question Question Question

It is quite possible that it could all be worked out.

( Then again -- as they say -- careful for what you wish ............... )


Best wishes

Chris
View user's profileSend private message
Coll
Guest

Reply with quote
Chris

The illustration shown on the above link, I've actually got, in a frame on the wall to the left of this computer.

It's this image that did make me wonder about the exact location of the camp tents a few years back, but didn't know if the possibility might exist to find them.

Coll
Edward


Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Posts: 32
Location: Glendora, California
Reply with quote
Personally I am not too sure that results similar to those that accompanied the excavations at Little Big Horn would follow in course should a similar investigation be conducted at Isandlwana.

My main reason for this assumption is the seeming noticeable differences seen in known artifacts from both battlefields. For instance I do no believe that any major human bones were recovered from the reburials that took place at the various British mass graves at Isandlwana. If my memory serves me well all that was found were very small and almost unrecognizable bone fragments many of which were so small that they fell through the investigator’s screen sieves. This was far from the case at Little Big Horn where complete – and as it turned out identifiable – human skulls were uncovered as well as other complete human skeletal remains including a complete forearm. When the condition of human remains differs so widely between two archaeological sites it is usually due to soil and climatic conditions.

A similar situation seems to exist with the primary diagnostic artifacts found at Little Big Horn namely spent cartridge cases. Those that I have seen from LBH are in excellent condition with no more that a good layer of copper patina covering their surface. Any head stamps that they made have had are readable as too are the nearly microscopic firing pin marks on the spent primer. This seems contrary to the remains of Martini-Henry cartridge cases found on Anglo/Zulu War battlefields. These – at least the confirmed examples that I have seen photographs of – always seem to be in extremely poor condition, being crumpled and corroded almost beyond recognition. Again when the condition of similar artifacts from the same time period differ so greatly between two respective sites it is usually due to soil and climatic differences between these same sites.

Thinking about it I suppose that the differences in construction between and American solid copper .45/70 Springfield cartridge case and that of a coiled brass Short Chamber Boxer-Henry .45 cartridge could have something to do with the condition situation.

My guess is that Zululand in much wetter and generally warmer that Montana and it is quite possible that Zululand’s soil is much more acidic than that found around LBH. I have not seen any comparative soil studies between the two.

To sum it up I think that site conditions would be a precluding factor for archaeological findings similar to those found at LBH resulting from any extensive work at Isandlwana. This naturally does not mean that no new information would come to light should such excavations be undertaken, quite the contrary in fact, but the final results would be quite different.

_________________
"Why Worry? Be a coward and be happy."
View user's profileSend private messageVisit poster's website
rich


Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 897
Location: Long Island NY USA
Reply with quote
Re: Peter E's comments on archaeology at Isandhlwana..

Peter, you know I'm kind of surprised that you would take a very skeptical position on digging at the site and questioning what would or could come of it and having a concern about "interpretations". I only note this because you of all us here shows such fine curiosity in things, persons and events. Archaeology is perhaps a down an dirty job and probably isn't successful at all digs. On the other hand, at sites like Stonehenge which are much much much older than Isandhlwana, modern digs there have proved to be enlightening in providing evidence and interpretation of how the site was used and what it was was for. One thing in fact in favor of excavations at Isandhlwana is that there hasn't been much of it done there. Not like say at Stonehenge where archaeologists have complained that previous diggers treated the site badly. I agree with your point about what is to be studied then if digging goes on. Now that would be a very interesting question. Hmmm..suppose some trenches were dug along the lines of how the camp ran especially in the internal lines. Could anything come up? I don't know. Maybe. Officers carried around a bunch of stuff. Who knows what could be in the ground? Perhaps a rotted diary? Letters encased in a corroded metal box? I guess what I'm trying to say is that of course the probability of anything there is small but nevertheless a probability. Archaeology can be a serendipitous thing you know? A shovel and pick just can perhaps alter "interpretations". There's nothing to be afraid of, no?

_________________
Rich
View user's profileSend private message
Serendipitous
Chris


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 180
Location: S.A.
Reply with quote
There is more going on to alter interpretations than a "Pick & Shovel"

See my post under the "Off-Topic" section.


Chris
View user's profileSend private message
Isandlwana Archaeology
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
All times are GMT  
Page 2 of 3  

  
  
 Reply to topic