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WW1 German Battlefield Uniform

Article about: Hi I'm a very very new to collecting. My interest lies in German WW1 battlefield items. This may be a silly question but: Do partial fabric parts of uniforms ever turn up. There are obviousl

  1. #1

    Default WW1 German Battlefield Uniform

    Hi
    I'm a very very new to collecting. My interest lies in German WW1 battlefield items.
    This may be a silly question but:
    Do partial fabric parts of uniforms ever turn up.
    There are obviously buttons and other metal parts which do. But from a totally novice point of view surely sometimes these would be associated with human remains. If so what happens then ??

    Thanks for reading

    Michael

  2. #2
    MAP
    MAP is offline
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    I'm sure during controlled archaeology digs depending on the soil conditions, fabrics are found during the recovery of remains.

    That said, I would defer to some.of our members here that work in the archaeology field to opine.
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  3. #3

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    I'm not digger. But internet age grow oversize kid.

    Only place I know are found is ww2 Eastern front. Bodies found in swamps still have fully intact cloths on them.
    Swamp is airless and preserves items amazingly well, even paper is readable. But those are Eastern/russian amateur diggers who are after money items, gets acces to them. Archeologist wont.
    Few cases they found pilots in planes which crashlanded in swamps. But these were bigger dig projects and were recorded well.

    Finnish front preserves items badly, in PH negative sand ground only leather boots are left from clothing. But in one recent case Finnish digger who was searching lost soldiers in 1944 Gulf of Finland island battles.
    He did luckily found collartabs from remains, coastal artillery lieutenant collartabs which had brass insignia conserved it
    (in ancient Finnish iron-age find brass jewelry preserved colors of cloth fragments, and succesfully re-created the female clothing)
    He later succeeded confim his identity due to this lead.

  4. #4

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    I have a particular interest in the archeology of the Western Front and very much enjoy studying the topic, and from what I’ve read it would appear that most (but not all) fabric items that were buried have deteriorated quite badly over the last 100 years or so. I have seen remnants of uniforms, for example some fabric still attached to an Australian rising sun hat badge, and I’ve also seen some cloth shoulder straps and the occasional bit of leather, but most relic helmets that are encountered appear to have their leather liners missing. I’m sure closer to the time period a lot more fabric was recovered with most now being lost to time. But I guess that’s not to say that in the right conditions or place, some more complete fabric items such as uniforms could have survived. Incidentally, a tattered German WW1 1915 feldrock was recently uncovered in a wall cavity during renovations in Alsace, and gives a unique insight into how an item, not buried has also deteriorated due to the ravages of time, moths and perhaps vermin.

    If you want to do further reading on the topic, I would suggest the following books:

    Traces of War: The Achaeology of the First World War

    Digging the Trenches: The Archaeology of the Western Front.

    Digging up Plugstreet: The Archaeology of a Great War Battlefield.

    WW1 German Battlefield Uniform

  5. #5

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    Thanks for everyones's Knowledge...
    So I'm wondering do these types of pieces every come up for sale.?
    Another thing I don't quiet get is when a archeological dig is done there must be hundreds of items found, I suppose a lot with minimum scientific interest. Again from a real novice point of view (No insult intended) where do all these pieces end up. Are they ever put on the open market for collectors.

  6. #6
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    Yes, indeed. Many of these small pieces (buttons, hooks, &c.), regularly turn up on places like eBay or in small tubs at Militaria fairs for a few pounds (sometimes a few too many).

    Incidentally, the shattered M-1907/14 tunic Andy shows above still sold for a surprisingly large sum! I’m intrigued as to how (and why) it ended up in a wall cavity, but it’s very sad to see it in such a state. I couldn’t own something like that - it would break a little piece of my heart every time I looked at it!

  7. #7

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    Basically organic materials such as wood, leather, textiles etc can be preserved in anaerobic environments. The anaerobic conditions in permanently waterlogged soils prevent oxidation and chemical degradation of many types of archaeological evidence.

    Waterlogging (archaeology) - Wikipedia

    Anaerobic Conditions (Bogs, Waterlogged, Subaquatic): Preservation and Conservation | SpringerLink

    Kind regards,

    Will.

  8. #8

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    Quote by Kohima View Post
    Yes, indeed. Many of these small pieces (buttons, hooks, &c.), regularly turn up on places like eBay or in small tubs at Militaria fairs for a few pounds (sometimes a few too many).

    Incidentally, the shattered M-1907/14 tunic Andy shows above still sold for a surprisingly large sum! I’m intrigued as to how (and why) it ended up in a wall cavity, but it’s very sad to see it in such a state. I couldn’t own something like that - it would break a little piece of my heart every time I looked at it!
    Not an uncommon occurrence to find old clothes stuffed into wall cavities or wrapped around pipes. A friend came across some 94th ID Ike jackets that had been used to lag pipes in the cellar of their former lodgings. Sadly the uniforms had also suffered from vermin attack and no owner details were visible.

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    Regards,
    John

  10. #10

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    Andy,

    I am glad you liked what we did at Plug street, it was an excellent few seasons. I also participated on a few TV series in both France and Belgium each of a couple of months apiece, and a single 4 1/2 month series of excavations for the Belgian Government that I directed on 10 battlefield sites.

    On one series we dug at Geluveld near Hooge and I located a British Army Great Coat. It was relatively intact the picture below shows some of the parts. The stitching had rotted away but the fabric remained sound leaving a kit form greatcoat. The First picture shows what we found when we got it to the lab, the stencil is the soldiers unit details for recognition.

    Condition there was down to anaerobic conditions caused by Belgian Blue Clay, combined with a very Low Ph. If you are familiar with the Plug Street book you will know Pte Alan Mather who's identification was down to fantastic preservation again due to the Belgian geology.

    - - ------- - -

    WW1 German Battlefield Uniform
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture WW1 German Battlefield Uniform  

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