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Great Legacy: The Salonika Campaign: archaeology in the trenches

The 5th of October 2015 is the centenary of the start of the First World War’s Salonika Campaign, when a large Allied army arrived at the port of Thessaloniki (Salonika) in northern Greece.

The Salonika Campaign: archaeology in the trenches
Finds from the warrior's grave on display in the British Museum 
[Credit: British Museum]

The video below introduces both the Salonika Campaign and the British Salonika Force archaeological collection at the British Museum. The collection was formed as a result of trench digging and other military activity in Macedonia. The initial offensive in autumn 1915 failed and so British and French forces dug themselves into the rich archaeological landscape around Thessaloniki.


Various archaeological finds were gathered by both the British and French armies in temporary museums in Thessaloniki and after the end of the war they were despatched, apparently with the agreement of the Greek government, to London and Paris. Significant finds, such as the warrior’s grave on display in the British Museum, are described as well as the important personalities involved in the formation of the collection.

Archaeologists such as Professor Ernest Gardner, who had studied in Greece before the First World War, served in the army in intelligence roles but also found time to pursue their archaeological interests.

Source: The British Museum [October 05, 2015]