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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - The Hon Dan Tehan MP

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Minister for Defence Materiel

8 April 2016

Secrets of the Gallipoli battlefield revealed

International collaboration between Australian, New Zealand and Turkish experts has produced the first extensive archaeological and historical survey of the Gallipoli battlefield, with findings published by Cambridge University Press.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Dan Tehan, today launched the book, Anzac Battlefield: A Gallipoli Landscape of War and Memory.

The book is the product of the Joint Historical Archaeological Survey project, which has seen a team carry out annual fieldwork in Gallipoli between 2010 and 2014.

“Commencing in 2005, this trilateral study has brought together expert archaeologists and historians from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey to identify sites of historical significance from the 1915 Gallipoli campaign,” Mr Tehan said.

“Despite its historical importance, the area has never been studied in detail through modern archaeological survey methods. This book is the result of a powerful inter-disciplinary collaboration which reveals insights from both sides of the battlefield.

“The survey mapped some 20 kilometres of remnant trench-lines around the Anzac area of the peninsula. Artefacts found included jam tins, water bottles, bullets, bayonets and German-manufactured barbed wire.

“These items may seem innocuous, but they help paint a detailed picture of people’s experiences at Gallipoli over 100 years ago.

“The book tells of differences between supplies for soldiers on the front line, with Turkish soldiers supplied by a camp kitchen serving hot food, while the ANZACs survived mainly on tinned food. It also tells the story of the construction and maintenance of the surveyed trench system and the construction of the post-conflict commemorative landscape.”

Fieldwork included using equipment such as ground penetrating radar, which can see eight metres into the earth, and differential global positioning system technology, to survey the battlefield. All artefacts were recorded and entrusted to the Turkish Naval Museum at Canakkale.

“It is hoped that this book will provide a significant contribution to the growing amount of battlefield archaeology based on what is undoubtedly one of the largest surviving above-ground trench systems from the First World War,” Mr Tehan said.

“I would extend a special thanks to the University of Melbourne, the Turkish and New Zealand Governments, and Canakkale University, for their ongoing support and commitment to this.”

Following the launch, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will distribute copies of the book to public, university and TAFE libraries across Australia to ensure the book is easily accessible to members of the public. The book will also be available for purchase online and in bookstores.

Media enquiries:
Minister Tehan’s Office: 0477 395 356
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.