Excavating under Gunfire: Archaeologists in the Aegean during the First World War

David W. J. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The Gallipoli campaign in 1915 revealed remains of the cemeteries of the Greek settlement of Elaious. French troops from the Corps expeditionnaire d'Orient were assigned to investigate the site, often under Turkish gunfire. This work was supervised by former students of the Ecole francaise d'Athenes. Detailed plans were made, the finds catalogued, and a published report issued. During the subsequent campaign in Macedonia, the French team made a detailed study of the archaeological remains and objects discovered in the French sector. Ernest Gardner, the former director of the British School at Athens, had been posted to Salonica as a member of the Eastern Mediterranean Special Intelligence Bureau (EMSIB). He studied the finds from the British sector and created a museum for the finds in Salonica. Some other archaeological work continued in Greece during the war years, though not close to the front. Such dedicated archaeological work in a battlefield situation was the precursor to more specialized units that developed during the Second World War.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-199
Number of pages13
JournalPublic Archaeology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Gallipolli
  • Macedonia
  • military intelligence
  • World War I
  • France
  • Ottoman Empire

Cite this