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Summer camp dig uncovers Civil War trenches

Teenage archaeologists are same age as some who died fighting during Battle of the Ebre  

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21 July 2021 05:47 PM

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ACN | El Pinell de Brai

Sunday marks the 83rd anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Ebre, which lasted from July 25 to November 16, 1938 and saw tens of thousands killed, the longest and bloodiest battle of the Spanish Civil War.

Among the events to commemorate the battle this year is an archeological summer camp for teenagers in the towns of Amposta, Ascó and Pinell de Brai, in the south of Catalonia.

The young people, 18 of them between the ages of 14 and 17, have come from all over Catalonia to attempt to uncover trenches and material from the war.

The fact that the budding archeologists are the same age as some of the young people who died fighting during the battle has a big impact on them, explains the dig leader, Arnau Josep Pou.

"Knowing that less than 100 years ago there was a conflict here where thousands of people died and that some of them were their age, because there were 16- and 17-year-old boys who died here, it really brings it home for them," says Pou.

The summer camp is now in its third year and so far this year they have cleared vegetation and are extending the line of previously uncovered trenches. They haven't found any remnants from the war just yet. "It has to be said that there was little combat right here," Pou points out. The trenches were made "just in case" and were at the rear, not on the front line. "There wasn't much activity, but we're not ruling out that something might appear," he says.

During the course of their work – organized by the Memorial Consortium of the Battle of the Ebre and the Josep Carol Scout Foundation – the young people also have the opportunity to learn how the Battle of the Ebre was fought and what life on the front was like.

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  • Young people and monitors at the Battle of the Ebre summer camp work to uncover trenches at El Pinell de Brai, July 21, 2021 (by Anna Ferràs)

  • Young people and monitors at the Battle of the Ebre summer camp work to uncover trenches at El Pinell de Brai, July 21, 2021 (by Anna Ferràs)

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