Melting glaciers in northern Italy reveal corpses of WW1 soldiers

Melting glaciers reveal WWI soldiersMelting glaciers in northern Italy reveal corpses of WW1 soldiers

The glaciers of the Italian Alps are slowly melting to reveal horrors from the Great War, preserved for nearly a century

A recent article in the Telegraph tells the fascinating story of the small Italian alpine town of Peio. According to the article, “In Peio, you feel, the First World War never quite ended. And in one very real sense, it lives on, thanks to the preserving properties of ice. For Peio was once the highest village in the Austro-Hungarian empire, and had a ringside seat to a little-known but spectacular episode of that conflict called the White War.”

The Great War has certainly captured the attention of the heritage community here in the UK in recent months, as the HLF’s dedicated pot of money has inspired many projects exploring how the conflict impacted life in Britain, and how the evidence can still be seen in many places. DigVentures has been working to support these efforts, and we’ve seen first-hand how much of the UK’s WWI history remains to be explored, recorded, and understood. There are some fantastic dedicated groups that have been working in this space already (check out the Great War Archaeology Group), and as the centenary approaches – along with the inevitable tsunami-like wave of press, telly, magazine articles, etc – we’re sure to see many more. The benefit is that HERs will become more populated with WWI Home Front sites, which can then be protected and better understood, there will be loads of opportunities for people to get involved, and it will be a nation-wide moment to recognise the power and value of heritage and archaeology. Result!

This article about Peio reminded us that there are many places here in the UK where sites of similar importance (though not containing bodies melting out of glaciers) may be slowly coming to light and yielding up their own secrets over the next four years, as a result of all the fascinating projects that are getting ready to ramp up and begin to publicise their work. Exciting times!

We’ll be picking one story each week to share with our community on #WWWednesday.

Have you heard of a great project exploring WWI heritage? Let us know!


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Lisa Westcott Wilkins

Written by Lisa Westcott Wilkins

Co-founder and Managing Director of DigVentures, Lisa makes sure the boxes are ticked, the diggers run on time, and that everyone has a *really* good time along the way. She is responsible for the Americanisms, ridiculously strong site coffee and early morning DV dance parties.

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