Diggers sipped rum, not beer, at Gallipoli

Diggers sipped rum, not beer, at Gallipoli

Australians are renowned for their love of beer, but it was actually enemy combatants at Gallipoli who sipped fermented hops between gunfire, archaeologists have found.

Teams from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey have uncovered new evidence at the landmark World War I site.

Glass shards left in the Turkish trenches could explain the drinking habits of diggers as the centenary of Anzac Day approaches.

The Anzac legend has often been used to sell alcohol, but survey archaeologist Antonio Sagona said it was actually the Turks, and not the Australians, who downed beers in battle.

The Turks had a penchant for Bomonti and Constantinople beer.

Conversely, Allied soldiers were given rum in April 1915.

Read more: Gallipoli 2011: What you need to know

While rum flagons were found throughout the battlefield, they were mainly on the Anzac side.

Almost a century after troops were slaughtered at Gallipoli, evidence from a war that shaped Australia’s national identity appears to be well-preserved under thick vegetation.

"There is so much preserved on the surface," Prof Sagona said.

"They are exactly where they are left about 100 years ago."

Read more: Gallipoli: From foes to friends

Archaeologists spent two weeks assessing a 3.7-square-kilometre section of battlefield in October last year.

They documented 12 cemeteries, seven collapsed tunnels, eight boundary markers and 36 dugouts.

The expedition uncovered 69 artefacts, which included bullets, shell cartridges, medicine jars and belt buckles.

Australian Times

Australian Times

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