Great War Tank Hunt this weekend!

Next weekend archaeologists will be hunting for tanks in what is called the Great War tank cemetery of Hooge in Ieper.

The event is good news for anybody eager to witness at first hand the excavation of a tank.  In the years after the Great War the tank cemetery in Ieper was one of the local sights.  Postcards and photos from this age show that the cemetery was a prime destination for the first Great War tourists and people making the trip to honour fallen relatives.

Air photography from 1917 shows the outlines of five tanks in the landscape.  What will remain of the tanks left in the West Flemish mud 100 years on?  Nobody knows, but we should all get a clearer picture on Saturday and Sunday when archaeologists set to work.  No tanks are expected to be found intact, but parts certainly will, e.g. tank tread or rows of rivets.  Two of five locations are being examined next weekend.

Everything unearthed next weekend will be preserved at the Hooge Crater Museum.  Next year the museum plans a special exhibition dedicated to the reconstruction of this corner of West Flanders following the Armistice.