The sound of the battlefield

Was this the last musical note on the battlefield
Our team’s activity is directly related to the First World War events that happened in Romania, especially the areas where the Romanian army fought hard to stop the German and Austro-Hungarian advances in 1916.

Many of the battles took place in the Carpathian Mountains. Some of the remote locations have now become true time capsules, untouched and unexplored for over 100 years.
Like on so many occasions we started our session with a 2 hour walk to reach the targeted location. Once there, we immediately observed scrap metal on the surface: rusted parts from water flasks (both Romanian and German), piles of empty rifle shells, big pieces of shrapnel and splinters; we knew that we were ”there”.

I won’t bore you with all sorts of already seen relics (because that particular day many targets were recovered) and I’ll skip directly to what we consider the truly special find of the trip.

Considering the heavily iron infested spot the XP Deus metal detector was the only logical choice, I was using a generous discrimination and reactivity 3, in order to investigate only the clear signals, usually above 80.  I heard a very strong and high signal, registering at about 90-93 on the display; by using the audio response at 3, I had the ability to understand that it was deep, probably at over 20cm. The signal was high and clear, but at the same time somehow faint, so I decided that something bigger was there.

I was on a slope, so having the possibility to detach the Deus lower rod to investigate the wall, played an important role. When I saw a familiar shape surfacing from the soil…I was frozen in the moment and overwhelmed with emotion.

It was not a helmet, a bayonet or sword, a machine gun or a hoard of badges and medals, but a bugle, an infantry bugle. To find a musical instrument on a battlefield is very rare. That solitary bugle’s role was simple: It was used to play one single musical score, the signal to attack.

The bugle played for the last time in 1916, when the Romanian troops launched an attack on enemy positions. The instrument was in use by Romanian troops, without markings, the model is most probably related to a Hungarian or British producer. The piece was exhibited at the Brasov History Museum.

A funny fact is that at the time, I was searching with Michele’s Deus, we switched our MD’s for few hours, because I was interested in the machine and wanted to try it out. After that day I placed the order for my own machine, which I now use with great pleasure and amazing results.

Romanian Military Archaeology Team

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