1989-1997 : the G.R.A.L.D

1989
(11 members)
Year of creation of the association, originally called GRALD (Archeological Research Group of Dunkerque's Littoral). The association's name is explicit: the area in which it led its actions, and the nature of the actions themselves.

Ghyvelde was the first town to subsidize the brand new structure:

- Excavation in Gravelines, "Rue de Dunkerque"

- Soundings in Cappelles la Grande, "le Crayhof"

1990
(15 members)
consolidation of the associative structure


1991
(22 members)
Beginning of one of the most ambitious works ever initiated by the association: "le camping de Zuydcoote". The excavation lasted from 1991 to 1996. By its support and the interest it took in the project, the authorities of Zuydoote played an essential role in the way of giving access to archeological knowledge in the area of Dunkerque.


1992
(29 members)
First excavation subsidized by the city of Dunkerque: "Lamartine". It is one of the first strong acknowledgements of the association by the city.


1993
(38 members)
That year was singularized by the increase of the association's projects and operations.

- Dunkerque : "le musée des beaux arts"

- Leffrinkoucke

- Medieval excavation in Zuydcoote

- XVIIth century excavation in Zuydcoote

- Loon Plage : first sounding in the church

Nevertheless, the functionning of the association remains unchanged. The staff is still voluntary, and fieldwork is done during the holidays of July and August.


1994
(110 members)
The importance of the association in the field of regional archeology is confirmed: 5 operations are led:

- Dunkerque : sounding "rue du maréchal French"

- Loon plage, "l'Eglise"

- Bourbourg, "l'Abbaye"

- Bourbourg, "Eglise saint Jean-Baptiste"

- Ghyvelde, first prospection in the fossil dunes.

- Continuation of the medieval excavation in Zuydcoote, with an increase of the technical means at disposal:

A permanent accomodation service is organized for the workers of the five sites.

The voluntary workers are more and more numerous, reaching 150 persons, with an average number of 60 over five weeks.

Moreover, the first operations of animation are organized : Zuydcoote's site welcomes children sent by the holidays camps of Coudekerque Branche.



1995
(95 members)
The association is in charge for 15% of archeological operations led in the Nord area.

· Dunkerque, " rue du maréchal French "
· Loon-plage, " camp des nomades "
· Loon-plage : " hameau des dunes "
· Loon-plage : " ferme Debergh "
· Drincham : " le château "
· Drincham : " l'église "
· Ghyvelde : " dunes fossiles ", secondes prospections et sondage
· Saint-Georges-Sur-L'Aa, " bassin d'aviron "
· Zuydcoote :end of the medieval excavation.


1996
(45 members)
A year of deep crisis for the association. The principles supported since the origins of the GRALD (voluntary work, a civic archeology, the care to vulgarize and communicate the results of the operation to the widest audience...) seems not to correspond anymore to those developed by the government. The association undergoes a crisis - minor operations are given to us:

· Cappelle la Grande : " Le crayhof "
· Saint-Pierrebroucq : " château de la motte "
· Saint-Pierrebroucq : " l'église "
· Hondschoote : sounding " les Trinitaires "
· Eringhem : sounding
· Wulverdinghe : sounding

The existence of a core staff of motivated voluntary workers, graduated in Archeology, History, Art History and Geography, allows nevertheless for a new dynamic. A team is created.