Famous Archaeological Trenches

WHS containing a "famous" trench dug during archaeological excavations and still visible today. Many archaeological trenches are "back filled" or else disappear because of the later removal of surrounding material. Some however are so large/deep that they remain. Such trenches reflect 19th or early 20th C archaeological practices which aimed at digging as deep over as wide an area as possible without full consideration of the likelihood of future improved practices and the need to record provenance by stratigraphic layer and fully to extract value from the excavated spoil.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Biblical Tells Megiddo - "Schumacher's Trench" "His main excavated area at Megiddo was a trench 20–25 metres (66–82 ft) across, running north-south through the center of the mound, a method widely used in those days at the typically large sites of Mesopotamia, but considered unfortunate in this case by later archaeologist due to the very large amount of soil removed in a manner that would offer relatively little information to future scholars and excavators." (Wiki - Schumacher)
Susa Contains several remaining visible trenches. The most famous is described here - "At the base of his still gargantuan grande tranchée (measuring 100 by 40 metres), de Morgan realised that he had not by any means reached the primordial horizon that he sought" (link). There is also Ghirshman's "Stratigraphic Trench" known as "VR A" which uncovered the "Ville Royale".
Troy The "Schliemann Trench" - "German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann was the first to explore the Mound of Troy in the 1870s. Unfortunately, he had had no formal education in archaeology, and dug an enormous trench “which we still call the Schliemann Trench,” according to Rose, because in the process Schliemann “destroyed a phenomenal amount of material.” (Wiki)


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