An Osteological Profile of Trench Warfare

Peri-mortem trauma sustained by soldiers who fought and died in the Battle of Fromelles, 1916

Authored by: Louise Loe , Caroline Barker , Richard Wright

The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415842198
eBook ISBN: 9781315883366
Adobe ISBN: 9781134677979

10.4324/9781315883366.ch30

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Abstract

The First World War, also commonly called “The Great War”, was a war of attrition in which fighting took place between soldiers occupying opposing lines in the form of trenches, with the area between — “No Man's Land” — fully exposed to explosive munitions and small arms fire from both sides. It was also a symmetrical war in which both sides employed the same military hardware and tactics. Details of the horrific traumatic injuries that were sustained on the battlefield are preserved in various documentary sources, such as eye-witness accounts kept by the Red Cross and casualty lists detailed in army service records. However, very limited information exists on how this is reflected in the osteological record.

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