In February 1919, the Australian war correspondent and official historian Charles Bean returned to Gallipoli as the leader of the Australian Historical Mission. Members of the party included artist George Lambert and photographer Hubert Wilkins. Turkish officer Major Zeki Bey, who had served at Gallipoli, also joined the team, providing invaluable insight into the Turkish perspective of the campaign.
In 2010, following in their footsteps, a team of Australian, New Zealand and Turkish historians and archaeologists began their own journey to uncover the story of the Gallipoli campaign, as revealed by what remains at the site. The Joint Historical and Archaeological Survey (JHAS) is the first large-scale archaeological survey of the area since the Australian Historical Mission of 1919.
The historians, using maps created by the Turkish mapping directorate in 1916, work ahead of the team, moving through dense scrub to identify artefacts, trench lines and other remnant features of battle. The archaeologists follow, meticulously documenting each of the features and marking their position on the battlefield using Digital Global Positioning System technology. All artefacts, trench lines and features are then photographed in situ. Selected artefacts are collected and taken for conservation to the Canakkale Naval museum at the conclusion of each season.
The work of the team has been highly successful. More than 1,000 battlefield artefacts have been identified and more than 700 have been collected. Thousands of metres of trench lines have been mapped.
The JHAS team has undertaken four seasons of fieldwork at Gallipoli, and will conduct its final season in September 2014. Throughout the project, the team members have formed genuine friendships. In April 2013, Professor Antonio Sagona, the lead Australian archaeologist, and Professor Christopher Mackie, hosted their Turkish friends in Australia. The visit gave the Turkish members of the team an opportunity to meet other Australian researchers and explore the archives at the Australian War Memorial.
In the tradition of Major Zeki Bey and Charles Bean, the JHAS team is a fine example of collaboration between nations that once stood on opposing sides of the trench lines that they now survey.