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Author Topic: Help Required - conflict archaeology ammunition artefacts  (Read 7211 times)

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Offline khanmak

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Help Required - conflict archaeology ammunition artefacts
« on: January 26, 2011, 11:26:55 AM »

Iím hoping for some advice from forum members relating to a research project that I am currently working on here in the UK

I am looking from a Conflict archaeology perspective at artefact analysis relating to small arms ammunition. This encompasses first & second world war and is tied in very closely to work I do, particularly on the Western Front battlefields with formal archaeological projects.
I am a student of military small arms ammunition so fine with the obvious sort of things Ė e.g cartridge headstamp markings and types of ammunition/ordnance. What I am looking at is a much lower (forensic) level of analysis, that is related to trying to ascertain from which weapons both projectile and case may have been fired from.
I have struggled to find a good source of central data here in the UK and the forensic science world here is very busy and from what I can make out mostly focussed on civilian weapons and ammunition. What Iím after is perhaps pointing in the direction of documentation, individuals and any information to help create a document that would enable someone with sufficient level of knowledge to work out from (for instance) a fired .303 ball round found on the Western front if it were fired from a Lee Enfield, Lewis gun, Vickers Gun. etc. The research I have done to date identifies such details as rifling details (number of grooves, twist direction,etc). Also I have sampled directly from specific weapons firing spent cases to identify common obvious marking features, so am sorting working backwards if you like. What Iím hoping for is for this information to ďmagicallyĒ already exist. I know that finds of WW1 & WW2 ammunition may often be degraded thus making identification more challenging, but often good detail can be found. Any ordnance related items found as part of this process will have already been cleared as safe by qualified EOD advisors.

Hoping you may be able to help


Offline Aaron Brudenell

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Re: Help Required - conflict archaeology ammunition artefacts
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 12:34:44 PM »
If you can get access, the Pattern Room might be a great resource.  I'm sure there are lots of details that can help your analysis but I don't know of a central repository of class characteristics that will help.  Another resource might be Long Mountain Outfitters in Henderson, NV.  They pulish Small Arms Review and have an extensive collection of firearms that probably include a number of the ones you may be interested in checking out especially if you have to fire them to examine bullets and cartridge cases for specific marks.  The photo I've attached is from a Bren machinegun owned by a local collector and it has some interesting marks that should help pick it out from a crowd!
Aaron Brudenell
Firearm Examiner
Arizona Dept. of Public Safety

Offline khanmak

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Re: Help Required - conflict archaeology ammunition artefacts
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2011, 05:32:53 AM »
Many thanks for your reply and information. Yes the good old .303 Bren gun round has all the classic idenentification marks (extractor mark & Firing pin!) If only they were all as easy to identify!
Many thanks again!


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