People interested in learning more about Cannock Chase’s fascinating history can now do so in a new pop-up exhibition set to tour the county’s libraries.
Using the latest LIDAR and Aerial photography technology, the Chase through Time project has helped unravel over 2000 years of human activity across Cannock Chase.
Amongst the discoveries are over 430 new archaeological sites, many of which form part of the remains of the two Great War training camps where over 500,000 men were trained. These include practice trenches, assault courses, weapons pits, and an extensive replica ‘battlefield’, which were constructed in the area in the early months of the war.
In addition to this important military heritage, the project has also shone a light on the Chase’s long and varied history by revealing prehistoric monuments, evidence for the medieval management and division of the landscape, and the area’s significant industrial heritage.
The discoveries, along with images and aerial photography will now be used to retell the story of life on the Chase in the exhibition which has launched at Cannock Chase library.
Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Library Chief said:
“This is a fantastic project that has revealed so much of Cannock Chase’s hidden past.
“With the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War approaching it is perfect timing that this exhibition is being launched and I’m thrilled that so many people will get to see it as it visits our libraries
“Not only has the project revealed much of the Chase’s unknown history from Great War to prehistoric times, but the results will help us to better understand and manage this special landscape for future generations.”
The project was made possible through the use of LIDAR and aerial photography which allowed the team of experts and volunteers to see beneath the trees and bushes without having to dig anything up.
The project, which recently concluded with a celebration event for volunteers and project partners, was delivered by Staffordshire County Council and Historic England with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Helen Winton, Aerial Investigation and Mapping Manager at Historic England, said: “Cannock Chase has some of the best preserved archaeological remains relating to First World War army training in England. Thanks to volunteer-led research, expert insight and by exploring the landscape from above we’ve learned so much more about the area’s rich past. To be able to match trenches and huts in 100-year-old postcards, drawings and diaries to features on the ground, and in turn make connections to the people who trained there, was fantastic and really brings the history of the Chase to life.”
More information about the Project and exhibition can be found at www.chasethroughtime.info
People interested in reviewing the research and project report can do so via the online tool https://services.historicengland.org.uk/cannock-chase-map/