Through archaeological techniques and working with professional archaeologists, the Ballykinler Community Excavation Project drew together community groups to study the remains of a WW1 training camp in County Down.
The key objectives of the project were to increase the existing knowledge of the historical background and archaeological features within the modern military landscape. In addition to providing a more accurate interpretation of the physical realities of ‘training for war’ on the camp the project sought to use a place of past conflict as a site for constructing a shared future.
What worked well and what, if anything, didn't?
This community project was the first of its kind in Ireland and, as such presented many challenges, not least establishing the right of entry onto an operational military estate in Northern Ireland.
The research team negotiated effective resolutions to the problems faced, consequently establishing a functioning template for similar projects in the future.
Academics and professional archaeologists and volunteers served to forge new relationships, while revealing a more comprehensive understanding of the role of the British Army in Ireland during WW1.
The results of the project now form part of a wider cultural heritage management program envisioned for the Ballykinler Military Training Estate; it is expected that connections forged in 2016 can continue to be developed alongside an accurate historic account of the estate.
Link to other media: