Archaeological Approaches to and Heritage Perspectives on Modern Conflict
Archaeological Approaches to and Heritage Perspectives on Modern Conflict
Beyond the Battlefields
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Table of Contents
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1 Introduction
1.1 The tragedy at Mont Cornillet
1.2 Aims and research perspectives

2 Conflict archaeology
2.1 Historical background
2.2 Roots of war: warlike behaviour in prehistoric times
2.3 Basic principles of total war and modern warfare
2.4 Modern conflict archaeology: methods and techniques

3 Landscape biographies of commemoration
3.1 Landscape biography
3.2 Scope and definition of heritage
3.3 Landscapes of commemoration
3.4 Ypres and the commemoration of WWI
3.5 Potsdamer Platz, Berlin – A multilayered urban landscape of commemoration

4 Status quaestionis of conflict archaeology
4.1 United Kingdom
4.2 Flanders
4.3 France
4.4 Germany
4.5 Poland
4.6 The Netherlands
4.7 Conclusions

5 Scientific and societal importance
5.1 Archaeological heritage management in the Netherlands
5.2 Dutch excavation protocols
5.3 The Buried Past of War project
5.4 Metal detecting in the Netherlands

6 The application of LiDAR-based DEMs
6.1 Light Detecting And Ranging (LiDAR): use and misuse
6.2 Landscapes of conflict – Battlefields and defence works
6.3 Landscapes of conflict – Air power and German logistics
6.4 Landscapes of conflict – Behind the lines

7 Summary and final debate
7.1 Community interest versus scientific interest
7.2 Heritage management versus management of research potential
7.3 Site-oriented approach versus landscape approach
7.4 Research agenda on modern conflict


Appendix: WWII-related archaeological researches in the Netherlands (1984-2017)

Reviews and Features

“This volume … make[s] a fundamental contribution to the methodological research of modern conflict archaeology, with an emphasis on the Netherlands. The author’s ideas and concerns apply to modern conflict archaeology generally and are of great significance for future archaeological investigations.”
- Mirjam Adam, Antiquity 2023, Vol. 97 (392): 498–500

Max van der Schriek

Archaeological Approaches to and Heritage Perspectives on Modern Conflict

Beyond the Battlefields

From a wider disciplinary perspective, modern conflict archaeology is now a thoroughly established and mature subdiscipline. However, a significant problem conflict archaeologists in the Netherlands face is that modern eras, including both world wars, have so far not received serious attention. Although both world wars appeal strongly to the popular imagination, until recently, Dutch researchers had not approached modern conflict from an academic archaeological perspective to any great extent. This is partly the result of problematic legislation on archaeological activity in the Netherlands. When applied and interpreted appropriately, archaeology can play an important role in the preservation, contemporary experience and historical reconstruction of recent conflicts. However, as Archaeological Approaches to and Heritage Perspectives on Modern Conflict: Beyond the Battlefields argues, research methods other than excavations will be needed to conduct conflict archaeology in the Netherlands effectively. This study aims to develop a Dutch approach to conflict archaeology, integrating archaeology, heritage research and history at a landscape scale.

Max van der Schriek

Max van der Schriek studied both Heritage Studies (2009) and Archaeology (2010) at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Between 2014 and 2019 he conducted his PhD research on modern conflict archaeology in the Netherlands. This was the very first academic study on this topic in the Netherlands.