Transit van gets "excavated"
Press release issued: 26 July 2006
A transit van used for many years by archaeologists from the Ironbridge Gorge Museum is to be 'excavated' by Bristol University's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology.
The innovative research project led by PhD student, Cassie Newland, will involve a detailed archaeological and forensic investigation of the vehicle's contents and structure.
The archaeologists will undertake a meticulous study of the contents, bodywork and engine. The oral history of the van will also be recorded from the people who used it in their working lives. The whole project is being recorded on video.
Archaeologists are normally involved in digging up ancient sites. However, their methods can also be applied to more modern situations. The police, for example, are increasingly using archaeological techniques for forensic investigations, and archaeologists have often been involved in the investigation of war crimes.
The 'van dig' is a new departure for archaeologists to refine the techniques to study a modern artefact. The van was involved in 15 years of archaeological research, and it is hoped that the project will find evidence for its history remaining in the vehicle.
Dr Mark Horton Head of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology commented: "This is an innovative project that brings archaeology really up to date. We hope we will find all sorts of evidence about the history of the van which will be confirmed by people's recollections."
The project is very grateful to the AA for help in transporting the van to Bristol and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum for its donation.
A blog about the excavation is at http://contemp-ironbridge.blogspot.com/