Our story, your story: The Archaeology of Mephisto


To celebrate National Archaeology Week, Queensland Museum’s Cultural Environments staff and Discovery Centre will be presenting a range of activities.

The highlight of the week will an Our Story Your Story talk on the Archaeology of Mephisto, presented by Michael Westaway. This will also be supported by a series of Meet our Curator sessions in the Discovery Centre.

Our Story Your Story

Wednesday 22nd May,1pm – 1:45pm

Dr Michael Westaway


The Archaeology of Mephisto

How can a 30 tonne silent witness from the past reveal anything new to us about the Villers-Bretonneux campaign in 1918?

Join us for a free talk and Q&A on our ongoing research into the history of “Mephisto”, one of the Queensland Museum’s most-loved collection items, with Queensland Museum archaeologist Dr Michael Westaway

The A7V tank Mephisto is the sole surviving German tank from World War One. We have developed an innovative partnership with Queensland Police ballistics and bomb blast units and the Defence Science Technology Organisation to reconstruct its history, particularly with regard to the physical battle damage present on both the internal and external surfaces of the tank. The research holds the potential to complement historical documents on how the allies tried to stop the tanks entering Villers-Bretonneux. Indeed the information also holds the potential to correct some of the historic accounts, already it would seem the physical evidence is counters the claim that Mephisto was partially destroyed by a demolition charge placed within the tank.

A7Vs played the central role in the 24 April 1918 capture of Villers-Bretonneux and this study is providing new insights into the history of this very important engagement. Villers-Bretonneux was successfully recaptured on the following day by a bold Australian night assault, the tank ultimately being captured as a war trophy and brought to Queensland Museum in 1918 to commemorate the sacrifice of ANZACs on the Western Front.

For more information about Mephisto, visit http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Find+out+about/Histories+of+Queensland/Conflict/Mephisto

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