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Old 06-04-2018, 09:54 PM   #1
The future is unwritten
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 64,207
June 5th, 2018: No Go Zone

In Northern France, between Paris and Belgium is a no go zone because of ordinance from the war.
What the hell, WW II ended 70 years ago? No, WW I, the war to end all wars.
After WWI, in a rush to convert areas for the growth of crops or livestock, the first industrial pig farm was established as early as 1929 near the site of the Battle of Verdun, the longest sustained conflict of World War I, lasting 300 days and costing more than 300,000 French and German lives. The 25 hectare pig farm was riddled with shell holes after the chemical treatment of the soil.

After WWI, unable to keep up with the impossible task of removing endless undetonated weapons, human and animal remains, the French government decided on a forced relocation of residents which led to the creation of the Zone Rouge. Entire villages wiped off the map were considered “casualties of war”.

Once manicured farmland was abandoned, and without human presence, soon became unrecognizable thick forestland. For decades however, much of this deceivingly lush forestland was still regularly used by forest keepers and hunters until 2004, when German researchers found extremely dangerous levels of up to 17% arsenic in the soil, tens of thousand times higher than levels typically found previously within the red zones. The water in the area was found to contain toxic levels of arsenic that were 300 times above the tolerated amount and abnormally high lead levels were recorded in some animals, particularly in the livers of hunted wild boars.

Farmers in less dangerous re-populated “yellow” and “blue zones”, still hit shells every year, exploding their tractors and narrowly escaping death by the remains of a hundred year old war. In Verdun, there are road signs to indicate a dumping grounds for farmers to leave the shells they’ve plowed up on their land to be collected by authorities.
They call it the “iron harvest”, in which nearly 900 tons of unexploded munitions are recovered each year by Belgian and French farmers after ploughing their fields.

Clearing the red zone is an extremely dangerous job, and fatal casualties from gas shells are not uncommon amongst munitions removers. Authorities estimate that if they continue working at the current rate, it could take anywhere from 300 to 700 years to complete.
Everything is interesting... look closer.
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Old 06-05-2018, 07:35 AM   #2
still says videotape
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Grim, maybe a good reminder though.
If you would only recognize that life is hard, things would be so much easier for you.
- Louis D. Brandeis
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:00 AM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Buckinghamshire UK
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If you're not blessed with the fastest internet connection in the world, this video will probably be a bit of a struggle.

It's over an hour long, but I think it's worth persevering with should you get the chance to download it.

Time Team Special 33 (2008) - The Lost WWI Dugout (Flanders, Belgium)


Last edited by Carruthers; 06-05-2018 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:28 AM   #4
The future is unwritten
Join Date: Oct 2002
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It doesn't look like it was pleasant for the 45,000 tunnelers but it looks better than living in the trenches above ground.
Everything is interesting... look closer.
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