Anzac Cove today

 

Anzac Day services on the Gallipoli peninsula commemorate the Allied landings there and the tragic loss of so many lives. The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) supports the services held at Anzac Cove.

A field survey of Anzac Area found battlefield material close to the original trench lines. Researchers catalogued bullets, exploded shell pieces, barbed wire, glass and fragments of rum jars. Unlike most museum objects from Gallipoli, researchers recorded precise locations of objects found in the survey.

Memorial services at Anzac Cove

The British Empire, dominion and French forces, as well as the Turkish forces, suffered severely on Gallipoli. The Gallipoli Campaign caused the deaths of some 250,000 Ottoman troops. The Allied casualties from the 8-month campaign totalled over 97,000, including the deaths of more than:

  • 21,200 British
  • 10,000 French
  • 8700 Australians
  • 2700 New Zealanders
  • 1350 Indians
  • 49 Newfoundlanders

The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) supports Anzac Day services overseas. This includes hosting the traditional commemorative services at Anzac Cove.

The Australian Government closely monitors the security situation in Turkey. The safety of Australians who plan to visit the Gallipoli peninsula is its highest priority.

If you're planning to travel to Gallipoli for Anzac Day, subscribe to the latest travel advice for Turkey from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The annual memorial service at Anzac Cove is a solemn commemoration of the service and sacrifice of the Australian, New Zealand and Turkish people.

Landscape of war surveyed

Browse the recovered objects

The Anzac Gallipoli Archaeology Database was developed from the Joint Historical-Archaeological Survey (JHAS) project. You can search through over 2000 archaeological records from the Gallipoli peninsula.

About the field survey

By 2005, tourists were putting considerable pressure on the old Anzac battlefield area of the Gallipoli peninsula. Construction of a new access road to the Anzac Commemorative Site at North Beach in 2005 allegedly damaged historic landmarks. Roadworks exposed the remains of soldiers who died in 1915.

It was agreed between Prime Minister John Howard of Australia and Prime Minister Recep Erdo?an of Turkey that a preliminary survey should be carried out to provide a description of the surviving elements of the 1915 battlefield. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark soon after associated New Zealand with the project.

In 2009, the JHAS project tasked a group of Turkish, Australian and New Zealand archaeologists and historians to carry out the Gallipoli field survey.

The survey was confined to the Anzac Area of the peninsula. In 1923, the area was placed under the care of the British Empire and Commonwealth's Imperial War Graves Commission - now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission - as part of the Treaty of Lausanne between the World War I Allies and representatives of the emerging Republic of Turkey.

Anzac Area corresponds roughly to the ground seized and held by the Allies from the landing of 25 April 1915 to the beginning of the August Offensive of 6 August 1915. The area is sometimes referred to by Charles Bean, Australia's official historian, as 'old Anzac'.

Today, the site contains 21 of the 31 Allied war cemeteries on the peninsula and the Lone Pine Memorial to the missing - structures that were built between 1920 and 1924. Since the early 1970s, numerous Turkish memorials have also been built in the area, of which the most prominent is the 57th Regiment Memorial.

Important stipulations were that:

  • the survey would only involve surface study, not archaeological 'digs'
  • any battlefield artefacts recovered from the surface were to be deposited with the Çanakkale Naval Museum Command

Between October 2010 and September 2014, JHAS spent some 5 months surveying the Anzac battlefield area. The treaty area encompassed:

  • both the Allied and Ottoman front lines
  • sections of the Ottoman communication trenches
  • virtually all rear area positions and communication trenches in the Allied section of the area

Early discussions between Turkish, Australian and New Zealand members of the team quickly reached the decision that survey work should concentrate on the front lines of both sides that were most exposed to possible overuse by the visiting public.

Surviving trench lines

During the survey, approximately 20km of clearly visible old trench lines, often hidden by thick bushes, were walked through with a Trimble GPS system and marked on both modern and 1916 maps of the area.

The 1916 maps were produced by the Ottoman Army in the immediate aftermath of the Allied evacuation of 19 to 20 December 1915 under the supervision of Brigadier General Mehmet ?evki Pa?a. These old maps show many of the key defensive lines and communication trenches constructed by both sides between the landing and the evacuation.

Researchers found a very high correlation between the positions marked by ?evki Pa?a in 1916 and today's surviving trench system.

Compared with the British trench system along the Western Front in France and Belgium, a significant amount of the Anzac system has survived. Although it's in a fairly degraded state in many places, some old trench lines are quite clear and relatively deep.

Trench overgrown with plants
Typical example of surviving trench line, Anzac area, Gallipoli. Image: DVA

Catalogue of objects

After more than 100 years since the Gallipoli Campaign, the survey found a surprising large amount of battlefield material close to the old trench lines. This consisted mainly of spent bullets and pieces of exploded shell, but there were also amounts of barbed wire, glass, fragments of stoneware rum jars and other objects.

Unlike most museum objects relating to Gallipoli, these were found on-site with their precise location documented. This established a clear provenance for the material and could help with possible future battlefield archaeology in the area.

The Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database is a unique digital archive of the results of five seasons of archaeological survey of the battlefield at Anzac Area. It provides a unique perspective on both sides of the conflict.


Last updated: 13 March 2020

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2020), Anzac Cove today, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 3 December 2020, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/ww1/where-australians-served/gallipoli/anzac-cove-today
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