THE first archaeological survey of the “battlefields” on the Falklands Islands has the potential to be made into virtual reality models of the area to help with PTSD therapy.

The Falklands War Mapping Project (FWMP), which launches in time for the 40th anniversary of the war this year, will see a team of veterans, archaeologists and local people carrying out the study. It is a collaboration between Oxford University, Glasgow University, the Falkland Islands Museum and the National Trust – and Waterloo Uncovered, a charity that uses archaeology as therapy for trauma and injury.

Islanders, including school children and youth groups, will be actively involved in carrying out the survey – working with the team to locate sites and artefacts and then recording them.

Mindful of the psychological impact of war, a wellbeing officer is also accompanying the team. Two British Army veterans, Jim and John, who fought in the Battle of Mount Tumbledown are accompanying the team to the battlefield and bringing with them their unique understanding of the landscape, finds and past events. John is visiting the Falklands for the first time in 40 years, while it is Jim’s fifth visit. Mark Evans, CEO of Waterloo Uncovered, said: “We are accompanied by two Mt. Tumbledown veterans, to help them move on in their lives, and to start to record the physical reminders and memories of 1982 that are still there today but dwindling fast.

“It is great to see our work reaching beyond the Battle of Waterloo, to help more veterans and learn more about important military history.”

The project is directed by Dr Timothy Clack of Oxford University and Tony Pollard, who is a professor of conflict archaeology and heritage at Glasgow University.

Both Dr Clack and Professor Pollard have carried out fieldwork on the Falkland Islands in the past, including on the material legacy of 1982.

Pollard said: “The FWMP represents the first intensive archaeological survey of the battlefields of the Falklands War, and provides a detailed assessment of the character, location and condition of individual artefacts and structural features related to the events of 1982.

“The scattered objects, aircraft wrecks, makeshift fortifications, and even shell holes, from the Falklands War represent important elements of the cultural heritage of conflict, and have the potential to add to our knowledge of the personal experiences of combatants on both sides.

“It is now a matter of some urgency that these remains are recorded.”