Battlefields are sites of international conflict, places where the course of history is decided. They are also places of pride and community identity, where the sacrifice and the courage of those who fought take on mythic status. Battlefield archaeology is a crucial tool for understanding how battles are fought and won, often revealing shocking conclusions at odds with the documentary record. Physical evidence shows whether battle plans succeeded or failed and the effectiveness of planning versus luck.
Fields of Conflict reveals new interpretations of classic battles and explores how archaeology is used regardless of geographic or temporal location. First showing the reader how to identify a battlefield from earthworks and particular artifacts, the authors then foster a new understanding of warfare by examining some of the best-preserved battlefields in the world. From the ancient world through the Middle Ages, to World Wars I and II and the Korean War, the analysis of what gets left behind at the close of epic struggles shows all too painfully how men fought and died, and how decisions their commanders made shaped history even today. Yet more than history, battlefield archaeology can be deeply meaningful to relatives of soldiers today, who seek to know where their missing loved ones fought, died, and were possibly buried. While military archaeology has always been popular, this groundbreaking volume is the first attempt to create a cohesive chronological interpretation for future study and understanding.
About the Author(s)/Editor(s)
Douglas Scott is the coauthor of They Died With Custer (University of Oklahoma Press, 1998) and a frequent commentator on the History Channel. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Lawrence Babits is the director and professor of the program in maritime studies specializing in military issues at Eastern Carolina State University, and is the author of A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens (University of North Carolina Press, 2000). He lives in Greenville, North Carolina.
Charles Haecker is an archaeologist at the National Park Service in Santa Fe and coauthor of On the Prairie of Palo Alto: Historical Archaeology of the U.S.–Mexican War Battlefield (Texas A&M University Press, 1997). He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
"A valuable book for the professional military historian."
The NYMAS Review, Fall-Winter 2009
“These articles not only enhance the documentary record, but also provide significant new data on the battles’ ebb and flow and tactics that do not exist in the written record, thus reinterpreting, in many cases, the course of the action.”
“Fields of Conflict presents battlefield archaeology as an extremely diverse and exciting subset of traditional archaeology and is a major achievement in the bibliography of both history and anthropology. Its clarion call for more research and investigation will resound for decades to come!”
David G. Orr, associate research professor of anthropology, Temple University
“Fields of Conflict will come to be recognized as a landmark work in the modern study, analysis, and interpretation of military battlefields and the participants who fought on them. The insights and understandings that the editors and contributors discuss are informed by years of experimentation, practical experience, field-testing, and collaboration. This quality of experience lends a level of authority to their presentations and toward the goal of developing a body of method and theoretical models that can stimulate and direct the professional, scholarly study of ‘fields of conflict.’”
Clarence Geier, professor of anthropology, James Madison University