We can write down our memories for future generations to read, but we can also hear the past through sound recordings and videos.
Today Alex is visiting from The Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN http://www.citizan.org.uk), an organization set up in response to dynamic threats to our island coastal heritage. It is a community archaeology project and actively promotes site recording and long-term monitoring programmes led by volunteers.
Alex will be soon leading a walk at Studland on the Dorset coast, looking at the WWII sites, and as well as research for the tour she hopes to play snippets from our sound archive of local people talking about what it was like, what they saw and stories of life in Studland during WWII.
Studland played an important part in WWII as a testing area for amphibius tanks and fougasse (burning sea). In April 1944 Prime Minister Winston Churchill, King George VI and General Dwight D. Eisenhower (Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces and in charge of the military operation) met at Fort Henry on Redend Point at Studland to watch the combined power of the Allied Forces preparing for D-Day.
The copies of the small sound archive we hold at the office are all still on original cassette tapes. For younger readers there is a picture below of what one is!
Alex has had to come and use our old technology to be able to then record a digitized copy for use in the field. We will need to digitize our archive so the recordings are more accessible. Luckily we have a cassette transcribing machine and a cassette player. The transcriber has extra controls so you can slow the tape down, change the tone and various backspace and counter options. It even has a foot pedal control!
Transcribing machine – a special purpose machine which is used for voice recording processing, so the recording can be written in hard copy form.
One day these machines will become part of the archaeological archives. At the moment they are thankfully still available and needed to play the memories from the past.