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 Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana

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rusteze

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PostSubject: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:24 pm

Just got back from an excellent presentation by Dr. Tony Pollard of his archaeological surveys of the battlefields of Cullodon and Isandlwana. He has been doing some  thinking on the similarities in fighting style between the Jacobite clansmen and the Zulu impis. Both of which involved large bodies of men, on foot, charging the line of British infantry armed primarily with edged weapons and with some firearms. I cannot do his emerging thinking justice here but it is fascinating stuff (he has an interesting book on the archaeology of Cullodon). Lots of slides including (below) the two pictures of the excavation of the firing line on the ridge, one taken from the camp side and the other from the Zulu's perspective. He made the point that it is quite a formidable position from the Zulu side.

Good day out in rural Wiltshire.

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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:51 pm

Hi Steve

Sounds very interesting.

Would like too know more.

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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:15 pm

Original Report,
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SRB1965



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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:58 pm

Hi,

Has the report been published yet?

Cheers

Simon
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:49 pm

Dr Pollard made the point that the Isandlwana survey in 1999/2000 was among the very first that was done and in many ways only scratched the surface - he said he would be keen to return and use the more advanced battlefield archaeology techniques developed over the intervening 17 years. I don't know how likely that is.

A couple of interesting points from the presentation. A set of British tunic buttons uncovered during the dig were quite badly corroded and there was no trace whatsoever of any tunic material. Likewise, the thin brass casings of the Martini Henry cartridges had totally disappeared with just the thicker brass bases surviving. The ground does not seem to be conducive to good preservation, given that these remains are quite recent in archaeological terms.

There was a question from the audience about a story the late Ken Gillings used to tell about a Victorian era US military button being found during the survey (I think this has come up on the forum previously). Pollard confirmed it was true but thought the likely explanation was a British officer unofficially wearing some piece of US kit. Gillings story that it was a 7th Cavalry button (and hence conjuring up some link to Custer) was thought to be a slight embellishment!

Finally, Pollard described the discovery, some way down the fugitives trail, of the point where one of the guns was finally overtaken by the Zulu. Next to an existing cairn and a pit of horse bones was a sequence of around 20 horse buckles in the ground still in the configuration of the RA harness. Some members may know where this is.

Steve
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:01 pm

Steve,

I have previously discussed the U. S. Army button with Dr. Pollard when he presented a lecture at the National Army Museum, some years ago.

At least one officer who was present in the camp at iSandlwana, prior to the attack and in its direct aftermath, purported that he had fought against the Sioux, and allegedly received an arrow wound for his troubles.  I have my own theory regarding the U. S. Army button, which I previously given, but I think a number of surplus greatcoats made their way to Southern Africa.

I shared my conclusions with the late Rob Gerrard, and at least one other battlefield tour-guide.  It is quite feasible that they may have shared the information with Ken.

Unfortunately, Dr. Pollard did not take questions from the floor on that day.  Colonel Ian Bennett and I, both disagreed with him on another matter relating N/5, and he stated he would revise his finding on our advice.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:06 pm

Hi John,

Who was the officer.....GHB?

Thanks

Simon
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:53 pm

Simon,

Yes it was indeed George Hamilton Browne.

I was trying to find the exact quote, but I can't lay my hands on it at present.

Major G. Tylden repeated the matter as fact in the JSAHR Volume XXXVII, No. 152 in which he states: ...He (Browne) next went to the States, where he served against the Sioux, and after a short visit to his family sailed in 1877, on doctor's orders, for South Africa...

Browne infers that he served under the command of Lt.-Colonel Richard Irving Dodge. If we are to believe Browne's yarns then he would than likely have served with the 23rd United States Infantry Regiment, which Dodge served with between 1873-82.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:33 pm

Simon
No it hasn't been published.
JY
There are also a lot of South African Post Office Buttons, many a tourist has bought them from the local kids at rather large prices. I nearly choked on the G and T at the bar one night when a rather corpulent gentleman showed us his 'capture for a song' R500 he paid.
Re the N/5 I do hope your questions were about the position of the Battery?

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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:36 pm

Interesting John. What was the disagreement about N5?
I can't help but feel that too little has been made of the archaeological survey, perhaps because, so far as I know, it has never been formally published. There are a few copies around but not sufficient to support any real debate. It is a great shame that we are in a much inferior position in comparison to the surveys of Culloden, Waterloo and across the Western Front. It is likely that much more would now be discovered if the survey was repeated, but that said, conducting a full survey and analysing the results is a very expensive business and I am sure RSA has more pressing things on which to spend its money.

Frank, post crossed with yours. Dr Pollard recounted the excitement of one of the diggers who spent three hours under the hot sun gently uncovering a CocaCola ringpull.
Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:48 am

Frank Allewell wrote:
Simon
No it hasn't been published.
Re the N/5 I do hope your questions were about the position of the Battery?
Regards

Hi Frank, it was rather a question of if the sub-units of an artillery battery had pre-ordained nominations.

eg would it have been "Curling take No 1 section and remain here" or "Curling take 2 guns and remain here"

Obviously an infantry battalion was organised into companies and sections, each under an NCO but did RFA batteries have established 'sections'....

Its not really important.....just something I have thought about.....

Thanks

Simon
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PostSubject: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana    Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:42 am

Steve
I wouldn't be holding my breath re the publishing of any  ' Dig ' reports from Isandlwana , I know Ian Knight was part of one with Adrian Greaves , not sure if Tony Pollard was a part of that one or not ? , there wasn't a report produced on that dig , all the evidence was handed over to the authorities , I can tell you Adrian Greaves' son did compile an  ' Unofficial Report '.
Those US Eagle Buttons do pop up from time to time , back in 2015 a chap picked one up either in the Ngwebini Valley , or near the base of Isandlwana Mtn , cant remember where it was now ! .
JY
I did come across an Austalian Army Badge at Kambula earlier this year , I did some research on the button , it was in service from 1900 or 1901 to 1952 from memory .
90th Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:56 am

rusteze wrote:
Frank, post crossed with yours. Dr Pollard recounted the excitement of one of the diggers who spent three hours under the hot sun gently uncovering a CocaCola ringpull.Steve

Many years ago, in a former life, I used to be a site supervisor & surveyor on archaeological digs (but not anywhere near as exciting as isandlwana - just Staffordshire) and this kind of problem was a lot more prevalent in urban & industrial archaeology.....apart from the blazing sun....more like drizzling rain.....Surprised
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:06 am

90th,

Just to clarify things Dr. Pollard's survey, and the project you mention are one and the same.

Steve & Frank,

It was to do with the animals which were pulling the guns of of N/5, which in Ian Bennett's and my belief were mules rather than horses, which accounted for the mule-shoes discovered along with the bones.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:12 am

John Young wrote:
90th,
It was to do with the animals which were pulling the guns of of N/5, which in Ian Bennett's and my belief were mules rather than horses, which accounted for the mule-shoes discovered along with the bones.
John Y.

Hmmm....that conjures up a rather different image of the desperate attempt to 'save the guns' - still I spose a mule can get a fair old lick on, when needed....

Also a quick 'google' search of mule shoes, does indicate that N5 were a very fashionable outfit.....(sorry had to get that one in.....)
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:36 pm

John,

How many 'mule shoes' were found - any ideas?

Was it just the odd one or two or were they prevalent?

Thanks

Simon
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:06 pm

Simon,

Sorry I can't recall I'm afraid.

In my defence it was twelve and a half years ago and I didn't take any notes.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:32 pm

Hi John,

No worries.... Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:38 pm

I tend to look askance at some of the discoveries from iSandlwana. In 1901 it was a convenient stop over point for Colonel Pulteneys column, 500 horsemen all camped out on the neck. And later the Field Artillery doing the same, cant remember the numbers for the Zulu auxiliary forces, but it was rather large.
The battlefield was a camp site for all and sundry crossing into Zululand, traders included. A veritable dumping ground for all manner of things.
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:14 pm

Pollard's 2016 excavations at Waterloo. Just shows what can be done.
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Steve
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PostSubject: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana    Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:41 am

Excellent Steve , thanks for sharing.
90th Salute Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:30 pm

Steve the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles went over Kambula in late 1901 as part of Pulteney's Column and possibly the Australian Commonwealth Horse patrolled out that way in 1902 when stationed in Newcastle. Possibly explains your button.

The Colonial Scouts (250 plus men and horses but no wagons apart from the Maxim Gun carriage) also camped at Isandlwana in February 1900 when on their way to the Nqutu Magistracy. If memory serves me correctly they rode over Isandlwana a few weeks later when the Boers were chasing them back into Natal. Friend Addison and old AZW Veteran commanded them.
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PostSubject: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana    Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:37 am

Hi Cam
Thanks for the info about the Button , I was very surprised to see it there ! .
90th
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PostSubject: Re: Archaeology of the infantry charges at Culloden and Isandlwana   Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:11 pm


Steve, The 5th VMR had a fight close by Kambula at Kambuladraai on 23.8.01 and sustained casualties. They pretty much covered the whole region including Hlobane, Nqutu and Intombi and were in constant touch with the Commando's especially near Hlobane were they had an officer killed and several men wounded. They had with them a Trooper Richard Mardsen Turner who had served with Royal Artillery during the AZW so no doubt he got a few stories in. I believe this is Driver, M. Turner R.A. (No1367).

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