Friday, November 10, 2006


Digging up the Trenches is a two-hour special that reveals each stage of trench warfare by focusing on the remarkable finds made by this unique excavation. As each rifle and artifact is unearthed, dramatic re-enactments show how these tools and weapons were used by soldiers 90 years ago. We see how men fired sniper rifles, reeled from artillery, and destroyed enemy machine gun nests. The result is a glimpse into how trenches helped define the progress of the entire war, starting as shallow rifle pits, and evolving to become vast underground fortresses housing thousands of men.

Among the astounding discoveries found by the dig are the bones of four soldiers, believed to have died in the war’s first gas attack. The archaeologists also find scores of bullets, live shells, underground shelters, and the scars left by mining tunnels.

Historians and archaeologists at the dig are our guides. As each mud-coated artifact is cleaned off, historians like Peter Barton explain how it was used on this very spot 90 years ago. Archaeologists explain trench warfare tactics as they discover bones and rifles. Dramatic re-enactments show how these same artifacts were once the key to life and death struggles in these same trenches.

Digging up the Trenches tells the remarkable story of a dig and a war defined by trenches. Trenches that were built as shelter against machine guns became so sophisticated that they were almost impossible to conquer. Understand the birth and death of these trenches, and you understand the war.