Initially, this area came under the auspices of general field archaeology, but battlefield experts have rapidly
developed it into a specialist subject which, due to its very nature, is often a sensitive one, especially — especially when dealing with World War I and II sites, which still affect people living today. Because battles invariably took place over ashort period of time — sometimes a matter of only hours — and because contemporary looters tended to scavenge objects from the field, there is often little artefact evidence to be collected, especially from conflicts that took place centuries ago. Battlefield archaeologists, therefore, rely heavilyon topographical study, as well as excavation, to understand the course of events before, during and after a battle.
University of Bristol is home to the only degree programme in Modern Conflict Archaeology, initiated by Nick Saunders (Right; featured in CA 235). This brand new discipline concentrates on fields of battle around the world solely from the 20th century onwards. It looks at all elements of modern conflict: from the militarised landscape, the sophisticated technology of modern warfare, the dead and their personal items, to artworks taken from or made in the battlefield.