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Destination Dardanelles By Wilson M By Marder A. J 15 x 23cms. Scapa Flow By Brown M. Monash By Northwood Vernon Zeebrugge St. George's Day By Pitt B. As part of a wider survey of documentary sources, commissioned off the back of a study of fortifications in England, the Council for British Archaeology published a gazetteer of site locations, types and periods of use for WWII defences in Britain which included Orkney Redfern , ix. This process of site identification, survey and recording forms the principle archaeological method employed in the treatment of recent wartime material in Orkney thus far.
It would appear however that Orkney is but an example of the current situation across the UK as the archaeological treatment of 20th century military sites has largely been influenced by the work of The Defence of Britain Project. Although this work has been invaluable in collating the extent and condition of the 20th century military resource across the country, it could be argued that it has left little space for the sorts of interpretation seen in other period studies.
The few works that have approached the subject of WWII military sites from a non recording or resource management perspective have made use of Geographical Information Systems GIS to examine how defences may have performed had they been put into action Schofield , 58 or have studied the social impact of barbed wire strewn beaches and restricted mobility on rural coastal communities Newsome Autumn Such works are very much in the minority, however where they have been carried out they have very much been in keeping with modern archaeological approaches to landscapes of defence where the emphasis has been placed on the physical, historical and cultural context of a defencework Muir , One particular aspect of Orcadian 20th century military archaeology that has received modern research methodologies has been the submerged resource.
Here the ScapaMAP project of saw the application of modern underwater survey techniques to the WWI German High Seas Fleet in order to augment current knowledge and understanding of the wrecks and to better inform future management Forbes , 3.
The result of this project was not only a comprehensive GIS and additional database but a series of recommendations for the dissemination of this material to the public Forbes , Projects such as ScapaMAP are a good indication of the potential that archaeological techniques have for further understanding the resource left by two world wars as well as suggesting methods of safeguarding it for the future. Interestingly, there is a distinct lack of emphasis on the importance of the land based remains.
Indeed the main legacy and historic importance attributed to the war years is the improvements made to the infrastructure of the islands and economic benefits brought by the influx of large numbers of service personnel Downes, Foster et al. What has been revealed through this review of past and current publications is that although Scapa Flow and the Orkney defences have been widely written about and are recognised as being of historical importance, the physical monuments that are testament to the events that took place are viewed as little more than eye sores that should be removed.
Archaeologists on the other hand, the group often attributed with the protection of such relics from the past, have developed few avenues of research or study into this vast, well preserved data set other than the incomplete site surveys that have been carried out thus far. Although it is understandable that in an island group as rich with archaeological heritage as Orkney, the most recent past may receive less attention, the perception presented through documents such as the World Heritage Research Agenda is of a lack of recognition for just how much can be gained through studying the wartime remains archaeologically.
There is hope for change however as a Historic Lottery Funding bid aimed at developing interpretation and preservation of sites around Scapa Flow is currently underway. None the less, it would certainly be fair to say that the current presentation and treatment of this splendid resource is fragmentary and non-cohesive at best, portraying the historical but misrepresenting the material.
The result is a textual and historically heavy record which lacks interpretation and cohesion with its archaeological components. This is clearly a situation that requires remedying and as such an approach must be found that allows these diverse elements to be combined in order to create an engaging, better informed record for public presentation whilst allowing scope for further archaeological research and interpretation.
Just such an approach, I would argue, is attainable through the re-evaluation of Scapa Flow and its associated military activity as being part of a field of conflict or battlefield. Contention Between Definitions of Battlefield and their Application to WWII Sites Until recently, battlefield has seldom been a term used within archaeological discussions to describe military engagements of WWII as the general conception of a battlefield has been restricted to a limited or spatially fixed action that has taken place over a short period of time Anderton , Even when dealing with WWI engagements, the difficulties of defining long drawn out battles that spanned many months, stretching over three dimensional landscapes both subterranean, on land and in the air have shown the limitations of the traditional approach of using top down diagrams, illustrating troop movements with sweeping arrows, to help interpret battlefields Anderton , With the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War that followed, methods of waging war evolved and as a result our understanding of what constitutes a battlefield must also change.
These changes in how war was waged must therefore be acknowledged and reflected in how battlefields are interpreted and characterised archaeologically. This issue of bounding events from the past, such as battles, by preordained ideas of space and time is an area in which wider discussions from within the archaeological profession can be of assistance. The concept of assigning a site or specific phase of activity on a site to a predefined length or period of historical time is not a neutral way of dividing the past and can have a profound effect on the interpretation of a site and material culture Lucas , In highlighting this situation, what was previously a fundamental and uncontested process of classifying sites and setting them within broad, established historical frameworks, is now a practice as equally well critiqued as all other aspects of the archaeological interpretive process Lucas , What could be drawn from this dialogue and applied to battlefields is the need to reflect on the previously established criteria being used to define site scale, both spatial and temporal, and to be aware of its interpretive implications.
With this awareness, battlefield archaeologists are then in a better position to apply, discard or adapt any such criteria that may be inhibiting the analysis and understanding of a given site. It is perhaps because of this need to include largely varying types of warfare within the term battlefield that few concrete definitions have been published. Ultimately what becomes clear from both Newman and Historic Scotland is that much of the argument surrounding definitions fails to recognise the more recent evolutions in warfare and specifically the formation of the integrated, wider battlefields that emerged between and Anderton , Nonetheless what is most imperative is that the gap between battlefield definition and developments in the methods of waging war is bridged so that modern battlefields entering the archaeological record can be recognised for what they really are.
I would argue that it is this particularly acute issue that the events that took place over the skies of Orkney between and can aid in rectifying as they represent both a multi scale 20th century battlefield and yet still conforms to traditional definitions. Orkney as a Battlefield As illustrated in the previous chapter, until now the Second World War defences of Orkney have largely been associated with the anti-invasion and other fixed defences of Britain.
For the best part these were never engaged directly in combat with German forces. As such they have only really been recognised, studied, recorded or characterised as being part of the wider Home defence system that was never tested, but which had a great impact on the lives and movements of the local population Newsome Autumn , However what is frequently not taken into consideration is the fact that many of the defence sites were called upon to perform their intended roles in the early months of the war when the threat of invasion was at its greatest.
The summer of for example saw fierce fighting over Southern England where fighter squadrons of the RAF vigorously defended tactical and civilian targets from German bombing attacks Townshend Bickers In addition to the fighter squadrons, military installations including airfields, radar stations, search light positions and anti-aircraft batteries also served active combat roles against the aerial aggressor performing the tasks they were built to do in an action which has become known as a battle, that being the Battle of Britain Ray , Figure 3.
Perhaps the greatest difference between the Orkney defences and those of the rest of the British Isles is that they were built in order to defend the strategically important position of Scapa Flow which in turn created a safe haven for the British Home Fleet when it was at anchor Hewison , 41 as opposed to being part of a general nationwide anti-invasion defence strategy.
As the main base for the Royal Navy, the location received a great deal of attention from the German Air Force from as early as 6th of September The Admiralty. This weekend of activity marked the beginning of a battle for air supremacy over Scapa Flow, which lasted until the 10th April , the outcome of which would decide whether the British Fleet had the ability to safely position itself in a strategic position, guarding the northern exits into the North Atlantic from the Baltic and North Sea.
In the traditional sense the field of engagement is represented by the waters of Scapa Flow, the islands surrounding it and the skies above it. The military forces involved in direct engagement are those of the Royal Naval ships at anchor in the Flow, the British anti-aircraft batteries situated around it, the bombers of the German Luftwaffe, the fighter squadrons of the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm who engaged the hostile aircraft and also the radar stations that guided them to the interception.
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It is equally possible to identify movements across the battlefield in reaction to those of the opponent attempting to out manoeuvre the enemy and achieve victory. The German attack had in essence achieved complete success in that it had forced the admiralty to withdraw the fleet from Scapa Flow and disperse it throughout the Scottish ports leaving the Northern approaches open Hewison , When the Luftwaffe returned in the spring to attack the Home fleet, which was once more anchored in Scapa Flow, they faced 39 HAA guns, 13 light anti-aircraft guns LAA , 28 searchlights, 12 barrage balloons, 3 radar directed RAF fighter squadrons operating from Wick mainland Scotland and Hatston mainland Orkney and a new system of barrage anti-aircraft fire, shown in Figure 3.
The German strategy also changed to counter the intensification of defences and involved the bombing of land targets such as the aerodrome at Hatston and three other suspected airfields identified through aerial reconnaissance in addition to the Fleet targets. However after three costly raids in March and April , the Luftwaffe finally ceased their attacks on Scapa Flow at the exact time when a withdrawal of the British from Orkney would have been most beneficial to German strategy and their swiftly progressing invasion of Norway The Admiralty.
At its peak, the Orkney barrage could fire a curtain of over shells in under 3 minutes onto a fixed line, bearing and altitude creating a wall which any enemy raid would have to fly through Ray , What this pocket summary of events is intended to illustrate is that both sides made changes to their battle plans throughout the period of engagement from 3rd September to 10th April This was done in an effort to maintain superiority and out manoeuvre their opponent, reacting and counteracting much in the same way as generals would on a traditional set piece battlefield thus consolidating the point that this period of military activity in Orkney should be perceived as a battlefield.
What is perhaps of greater importance in this particular discussion is that although the bulk of the argument so far has been drawn from a re-evaluation of the literary sources, both oral testimonies and the material remains have the potential of providing evidence of battle which supplements and reinforces the textual references.
Oral Evidence of Battle Just as it is possible to obtain different perspectives of a traditional battlefield through personal accounts and testimonies, so to is it possible to gather in depth information concerning individual bombing raids on Orkney during the period in question. As well as providing vital evidence of specific incidents, these accounts inject life and humanity into the action and are a vivid reminder of the people who were stationed in Orkney during the war.
They also can offer different perspectives on the same event which can help reduce inaccuracies caused through exaggeration or the hazing of details over time. I think the plane fell at Lyness. One German airman was seen to get out of the plane. Accounts such as these can not only provide the details of battle but also offer information that can aid future archaeological work such as locating fixed gun positions and aircraft crash sites which can be investigated to add further details to the battle reports. Material Evidence of Battle As far as the material evidence of battle is concerned, little has been identified or researched in any depth as of yet however the potential of the resource remains very high.
Through the use of gazetteers such as those compiled for the CBA by Redfern, it is possible to identify the locations of the wartime defences of the Orkney Islands. Anti-aircraft batteries and barrage balloon positions can be analysed in relation to known Luftwaffe targets in order to better understand the shape of the raids and what the aircraft would have encountered when attacking from particular directions before and after the build up of defences. This resource can also be used for the study of military life under harsh weather conditions, the use of the landscape in augmenting defences, deviations from architectural plans and initiative in the face of limited construction materials.
Further to the defences themselves, there are a host of other sources of material evidence to be studied including construction detritus, air crash sites, shrapnel scatters and backfilled bomb craters, similar to those in Figure 3. Here it joins the other underwater material sources of battle such as anti-submarine nets, indicator loops, mine anchors and block ships which can be identified through the use of sonar and studied.
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In addition to this Whittaker and Lamb have produced lists from the records they have found that identify Luftwaffe aircraft shot down over Orkney during the Second World War. Their lists can reveal 11 confirmed losses between the 20th September and 10th April by a combination of anti-aircraft fire and allied aircraft see Appendix I. These aircraft are the ultimate material evidence of battle as some also represent the final resting place of aircrews engaged in the conflict and would not be present had a battle not been going on in the skies over Orkney Figure 3.
An example of how an air raid from November can produce archaeological negative features which can be identified and studied Miller , Licensor www. It is as a consequence of the activity that took place in the time frame immediately after the declaration of war that defences continued to be build up throughout the war with major installations still under construction as late as The Admiralty.
The later constructions directly relate to the earlier threats made to Home Fleet security and would most likely not have been built had it not been for the concentrated efforts of the Luftwaffe to disrupt the Home Fleet in and As a strategically defended geography within the British Isles that saw active combat during the Second World War, Orkney places itself in an ideal position to draw upon archaeological techniques and methods of research that are currently being applied to battlefields.
The study of fields of conflict, through the use of battlefield archaeology, has many benefits as the relatively young specialism can reveal a tactile and detailed perspective of human endurance through extreme circumstances which is often missing from traditional histories Freeman , 7.
Artefact Scatter Analysis One such method utilised in battlefield archaeology is the analysis of unstratified artefact scatters where artefacts relating to the battle are identified and recorded through a method of systematic metal detector survey Foard The location of these artefacts are then plotted so as to produce distribution maps which can in turn be used to suggest the location of various battlefield features or events such as areas of intense action, individual unit positions or episodes of combat between specific unit types Pratt , The concept of artefact scatter analysis can be applied to the detritus of war found in Orkney.
The submerged resource is likely to provide a greater source of intact information than its land counterpart is. The analysis of the debris from battle can also be used to study specific events that occurred during the bombing of Orkney and are known from literary references to have left a lasting impact on the landscape not to mention the psyche of the British people at the time of the incident.
At dusk on the 16th March Orkney received the melancholy title as the location for the first civilian casualty on British soil of the Second World War.
This was a Mr James Isbister, a 27 year old man who lived in the small crofting community at the Bridge of Waithe on mainland Orkney Miller , The reason for the bombing of this group of houses has been put down to the presence of a civilian airstrip, operated by Allied Airways and located near to the Bridge of Waithe during peace time, which was marked on maps of the time and had presumably been interpreted by German intelligence as being military Hewison , This assumption is confirmed through the analysis of the Luftwaffe aerial reconnaissance photographs of the area that highlight an area to the North West of the bridge as being an airfield however as highlighted on the photograph shown in Figure 4.
When coupled with the complete lack of damage by the thirty bombs dropped on Hatston aerodrome Hewison , , this evidence speaks volumes of German bombing accuracy in March Accounts record numerous houses receiving damage from high explosives detonating nearby Figure 4. Discovery of lines of craters caused by sticks of bombs would help inform our understanding of the direction from whence the attacking aircraft came which may in turn help explain why their accuracy was so poor. Figure 4. The buildings marked 1 and 2, identified as barracks and warehouses, were in fact the farm buildings of Howe Farm.
For the best part this has been achieved through the use of phenomenological theories of movement through space under particular conditions, and how procession may reflect experiences and their meaning on the battlefield Carman, Carman , This non-destructive methodology can have an equally applicable role in the study of battlefield Orkney.
As there are so many individual accounts surviving from service personnel stationed in Orkney during WWII, it is already possible to gain great incite into the day to day conditions experienced by the troops and also begin to understand the emotions expressed during specific combat situations from a variety of locations on the battlefield. Although it could be argued that these oral histories remove the need for subjective methods such as phenomenology, I would contend that they remain just as relevant and that the presence of personal accounts can aid the process of experiencing the landscape dramatically.
In some cases there may also be the opportunity to use the personal accounts as a control in an analysis of how true to past experience the methods of phenomenology are, within the context of the WWII battlefield. However what has become evident through these programs of recording is that although the location, architectural details and condition of sites have been archived, there is a distinct problem faced in how to protect the buildings dating to these times of conflict from further damage, whether it is from nature or people.
Although the majority of wartime sites are now catalogued within sites and monuments records as part of the archaeological record, this offers no statutory protection against destruction. As the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act of , which allows for the protection of ancient monuments through scheduling, is designed for use in relation to buried or earthwork remains that have reached a relative plateau in their rate of decay, it would not seem an entirely suitable method for safeguarding structures that are still actively becoming two dimensional at a rather alarming rate Holyoak , As scheduling only offers protection against illegitimate disturbance or damage and does not put pressure on the land owner to maintain or repair the scheduled monument, it would appear an illogical choice of protection for buildings that require work to either stabilise them or bring back into use Holyoak , The consequence of this situation is that individual 20th century military buildings are not managed well under current policy and legislation in the UK.
Its intentions, at this stage, appear to be relatively similar to those of English Heritage who created a non-statutory register of historic battlefields. The main aim of their register was to identify and chart the extent of battles in England with a view to emplacing boundaries around them, combining them within a plan that highlights both the key points on the battlefield and their worth for further, more specific attention MacSween , The proposed management of the sites is intended to be implemented at planning authority level with the inventory serving as a source of information for interpretation, education and research, in addition to raising awareness of the importance of the protection and sustainable management of battlefield sites Historic Scotland.
It has already become evident through comments raised concerning the English Heritage Register of Historic Battlefields that the non-statutory inventory provides a far from satisfactory level of protection. Foard squarely places the blame for this situation on the initial concept of the register which viewed battlefields as historical sites devoid of a major archaeological element Foard , Orkney therefore has much to gain from national recognition as a battlefield as any protection whether statutory or non- statutory would encompass the whole range of archaeological resources relating to the world war presence in the island archipelago.
Of particular importance would be the integration of the submerged resource which could in essence cover the entirety of Scapa Flow taking in air crash sites, the anti-submarine nets, indicator loops, block ships, the wrecks sunk as a consequence of battle and other artefact scatters or debris relating to the battle. The advantage of such coverage is that it would embrace the sites relating to the sinking and recovery of the German High Seas Fleet as they inevitably rest within the later battlefield and would therefore need to be considered within any Scapa-wide management initiative.
Although this document focuses on changes to resource distribution and exploitation, conflict between resource producers and the potential for utilising under exploited resources, it does take the submerged archaeological remains into consideration Kerr , 1. Documents such as this can prove very useful in ensuring that any battlefield management plan incorporating the submerged archaeology of Scapa Flow will cooperate effectively with wider maritime resource management strategies. Opportunities for Interpretation and Presentation Perhaps one of the most significant benefits attributed to the interpretation of Scapa Flow and the Orkney defences as a battlefield is the prospect of addressing public perceptions to the wartime remains.
Naturally it does not take too much imagination to envisage the economic benefits to local groups and businesses of a similarly popular battlefield attraction in Orkney. In terms of the development of public access and interpretation, the battlefield offers the opportunity for people to engage with the concrete monuments of war distributed across the islands at a level not currently enjoyed as under such a classification they become connected into the wider narrative of events. Current interpretive strategies that make use of plaques and information boards, whether at sites or in museums, libraries and heritage centres can have the effect of interpreting the past for the visitor, driving their experience and understanding in a predefined direction rather than allowing them the space and freedom to develop their own thoughts and opinions Basu , However with so many wartime sites in Orkney, the chance to use both traditional interpretative aids and more open approaches, that encourage the visitor to seek their own experiences either by adding to or creating their own sense and memory of place, these previously unappreciated sites can become central within the wider historical narrative Basu , Summary This chapter has attempted to touch on some of the implications a change in perception from a collection of military remains to that of a battlefield may have on the future study, protection and presentation of the wartime archaeological resource in Orkney.
What has been revealed is that such a change has the potential of opening up a wide range of different approaches to research and public interpretation. It also may provide further legislative support to the preservation of the material remains than is currently available through the traditional means of safeguarding archaeological monuments. Although additional funding, increased tourism and protective management schemes are by no means assured, what certainly becomes clear is that places such as Orkney, that have an active wartime history and a proliferation of intact remains, have a great deal to gain from affiliating themselves with historic battlefields.
However, in the process of interpreting the military engagement over Orkney as a battle, the lack of universal definitions for battlefields has been starkly revealed. All too often the classifications used are directed towards or influenced by the traditional set piece engagement. As a result of this, issues with the general recognition of 20th century fields of conflict as historic battlefields are caused which can also lead to conflictions in the management strategies of the archaeological resource. Chapter three has already discussed this issue briefly, highlighting the fact that First and Second World War battlefields are far greater in scale than any battle that had come before them, taking place over vast areas of land as well as in the air above it, the sea around it and the ground below it Dore , New technologies enabling the enemy to fly over ground defences to strike at the softer heart beyond meant that conflict could span multiple countries and involve combatants and non combatants alike leading battles of the 20th century to far exceed the traditional definitions of battlefield.
Sites of direct engagement between opposing land forces of WWI and WWII have faired better within the definitional confines as they still maintain the ephemeral, limited temporal and spatial nature that is familiar to the more ancient transitory battlefield Scott, Babits et al. As the conflict concerning Orkney very much falls outside of this category and into one of a static defence work which saw combat, the problems of definitions which have not taken into account the developments of 20th century warfare remain.
What has already been demonstrated is that it is actually quite possible to include such a defence work as a type of battlefield. The national monument protection bodies in the UK clearly view sieges as an entirely separate class of site Historic Scotland. The issue lies in the fact that defence systems have a tendency to span large tracts of land, for example following a stretch of coast for many miles and incorporating many different types of defensive positions.
The Orkney defences for instance include anti-aircraft guns, searchlights, radar stations and air squadrons for the protection against airborne raiders and coastal guns, pillboxes, anti-tank ditches, indicator loops, controlled mine fields, block ships and boom defences to guard against surface or submerged attacks Redfern Over the course of the Second World War only the defences constructed to guard against air attack saw active combat and thus it could be argued that only they should be covered as being part of a battlefield.
The result of such a decision would ultimately lead to the divided management and protection of the 20th century military material resource in Orkney, a most unsatisfactory state of affairs indeed. It is just such a situation as this that has materialised in other countries attempting to manage WWII defence systems where some elements saw action and others did not. Although originally conceived as a defensive system which for the best part saw no action, with the allied invasion of German occupied Europe on 6th June , the Atlantic Wall fortifications along the Normandy beaches of France became involved in the physical act of combat Forty , The result is a similar state of affairs to that of the Orkney defences where aspects of the system saw action and others did not.
The major difference with the Atlantic Wall is that the fortifications on the Normandy coast, such as at the Pointe-du-Hoc Figure 5. Figure 5. On 11th January the sector of the Atlantic Wall at Pointe-Du-Hoc, a heavily fortified promontory with mm guns that could fire onto the landing beaches of Omaha and Utah, and which saw fierce fighting on D- Day, was given to the American Battle Monuments Commission Burt, Bradford et al.
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As a result of Pointe-Du-Hoc receiving the distinction as a Class A Historic Site by the French Government and being owned by a small independent agency from the United States, the battlefield not only falls under distinctly different management initiatives to the rest of the Atlantic Wall but also has a different degree of protection Burt, Bradford et al. Looking to the Future This state of affairs, I would argue, is a direct result of the confusions caused by the definitions of battlefield. The Atlantic Wall represents a case and point of a linear defence system which, through circumstance, became a multi-spatial battlefield encapsulating the freshly evolved fluid, integrated and technologically advanced methods of waging warfare, but which has been interpreted, defined and constrained using the traditional perception of battlefield.
The result is a conglomeration of many small battlefield sites located very close together, both temporally and spatially, but which in actual fact represent individual events within a much larger battlefield spanning many months and many thousand miles of French countryside. Again this is a predicament where current theory recognised in prehistoric archaeology can be of use to a historical archaeological problem, in this case that of scale. Each of these methods has positive and negative implications as they identify and interpret particular social and cultural activities that have taken place at certain scales Thomas , However, the problem lies with the fact that human interaction seldom follows a system like pattern and will vary in scale as it reacts to different events and conditions Thomas , As such neither direction would appear to offer itself as the single best approach to the study of past human behaviour.
However, both are equally necessary and complimentary in as far as they allow a circular, reflective narrative to occur where the implications of the analysis of small scale activities are interpreted at larger scales and vice versa Thomas , To achieve this, I would argue that what is still ultimately required is a battlefield definition that embraces the multiple scales at which battlefield exist.
What is illustrated here is an example of how global the issue of battlefield definitions really is. It also demonstrates how the failure to adequately recognise the evolutionary development of warfare and the battlefield is drastically impacting the management and interpretation of 20th century military remains. The mixed management of the Atlantic Wall offers a flavour of what could potentially happen with the Orkney Defences if the military sites that did not see combat or were constructed later than fail to be recognised, as I have suggested in chapter three, as being both integrally related to, and a consequence of the initial battle for Scapa Flow that took place between September and April What is needed is a wider recognition of the fact that the way war is waged changes over time and thus directly impacts the nature and characteristics of the battlefield.
In much the same way as Anderton perceives Britain as a single field of conflict spanning years and containing offensive and defensive elements some of which were never fully exploited Anderton , , so too must we acknowledge defence systems that were built and operated as single entities as being part of much larger battlefields that only saw action on particular fronts. In doing this we can take the first steps towards a more open appreciation of the evolving nature of the battlefield and begin to rectify the issues with definitions which have led to the mis-identification of wider, multi-dimensional 20th century battlefields as they have entered the archaeological record.
Methods and theories currently reserved for much older periods of human history can be of equal use in the interpretation of the more recent past offering a much fuller understanding of their material remains.