Getting to the root of soldiers' inscriptions

WHEN it comes to carving out a career in the competitive world of archaeology these days, it's all about finding your own niche – but few young archaeologists are carving out a future in their field quite as literally as Bristol University student Chantel Summerfield.

The 23-year-old PhD student has become the world's only expert on arborglyphs – that is, tree graffiti; the inscriptions carved into tree trunks by soldiers with bayonets.

From bored squaddies on Salisbury Plain to terrified GIs trekking through Normandy in the wake of the D-Day invasions – each carving Chantel uncovers tells its own story of a soldier's life.

"I've followed many of the First World War soldiers' carvings from trees that once stood a few miles behind the front line on the Western Front, through to finding their graves in Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries," Chantel says....

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