Tuesday, 29 September 2020

JFArchaeology planned excavations in 2021 - Suunniteltuja kaivauksia kenttätyökaudella 2021

The planning of next years community archaeology excavations are well under way and we are happy to announce the first preliminary dates for many exciting digs. Keep on checking out this site for regular updates and information about when and how to register!

Please send a letter of interest to jfarchaeology@gmail.com if you want more information of the 2021 excavation season in English, German or Swedish. 

Stay safe and see you soon!

Jan Fast and Janne Soisalo

WW2 battlefield Archaeology - Toisen maailmansodan sota-arkeologiaa 

”Hanko 1941” projekti

Järj. Hangö Sommaruni ja projektirahoitus

Ilmoittautuminen ei vielä alkanut

- Saaristomeri huhti-/toukokuu 2021                                                                                                            

- Bromarvin lohko 10.5 - 14.5.2021 (ma-pe)

- Hangon maarintama 19.7-23.7.2020 (ma-pe)

- Hangon maarintama 26.7-30.7.2020 (ma-pe)



Historical Archaeology - Historiallisen ajan arkeologiaa 

- Tampere Vuores 17-19.5.2021


Täynnä - Ei ilmoittautumista!

Taideprojekti/Pedagoginen koululaiskaivaus yhteistyössä Vuoreksen koulun kanssa


Archaeology of the Stone Age - Kivikauden arkeologiaa

- Leppävaara, Monikko 20. - 23.5.2021 (to-su)

Ilmoittautuminen ei vielä alkanut

Järj. Leppävaara seura             

FB sivu tekeillä

- Raasepori, Malmkulla 27. - 30.5.2021 (to-su)

Ilmoittautuminen ei vielä alkanut

Järj. Karis Hembygdsförening ja Sällskapet Natura


- Porvoo, Vävarsbacka 2. - 6.6.2021 (ke-su)

Ilmoittautuminen ei vielä alkanut

Järj. Borgå Medborgarinstitut                                                                                                                  


- Kirkkonummi, Kolsarby 9.6. - 13.6.2021 (ke-su)

HUOM! Ilmoittautuminen käynnissä!

Järj. Kyrkslätts Medborgarinstitut



- Turku, kivikautisen asuinpaikan kaivaus 17. - 20.6.2021 (to-su)

Ilmoittautuminen ei vielä alkanut

Järj. Ei vielä tiedossa

- Espoo, Kläppkärr 28.6 - 3.7.2021 (ma-la)

Järj. Esbo Arbetarinstitut

HUOM! Ilmoittautuminen käynnissä!



- Vantaa, Jokiniemi 7. - 11.7.2021 (ma-su)

Ilmoittautuminen ei vielä alkanut

Järj. Helsingin seudun kesäyliopisto 


- Kemiönsaari, Ölmosviken 9.8 – 17.8.2021

Ilmoittautuminen ei vielä alkanut



- Kouvola Ruskiasuo 21.8.-29.8.2020

Ilmoittautuminen ei vielä alkanut

Järj. Kouvolan kansalaisopisto ja projektirahoitus

Kouvolan kansalaisopiston harrastajille suunnattu kaivaus 21.-22.8.2021 ja 28.-29.8.2021

Koululaiskaivaus 23.8.-27.8.2021    



- Lohja Kittiskoski E

Ilmoittautuminen ei vielä alkanut.

Järj. Hiiden opisto ja projektirahoitus

Hiiden opiston harrastajille suunnattu kaivaus 4. - 5.9.2021 ja 11.9. - 12.9.2021 (la-su)

Koululaiskaivaus 6.9. – 10.9.2021


Friday, 4 September 2020

A forgotten grave of a German "Kriegsmarine" soldier in the archipelago?

Today an article was published in the local newspaper about the repatriation/reburial of the seven KIA Soviet soldiers discovered near the defensive positions of the 3rd battery of 204th air-defence and artillery division in Hanko Tvärminne. The article produced an interesting phone call from a local elderly man.

"Minensucher-Kriegsabzeichen" found by a local on the Hanko front in the area were the German the German war ship "Brummer" was anchored.

According to him the bodies of seven German soldiers drifted ashore in the archipelago SE of Hanko in the summer of 1941 or 1942. Six of the soldiers were buried on a larger island close to the mainland and the seventh one on a small skerry further out to sea.

A low depression in the ground marks the place of a war grave on the Hanko Front.

The graves of the six soldiers were opened and the bodies moved from the temporary grave site in the summer of 1952 and transported to the nearby town of Ekenäs but the remains are said to have been buried in the churchyard in Pojo. According to the informant the seventh soldiers grave was for some reason left untouched and the soldiers mortal remains are still on the small skerry.

"Sterbebild" with picture of a "Kriegsmarine" soldier killed in the Gulf of Finland.

The story is one of several gathered and investigated in the course of the "Hanko 1941" project. Even though many of the stories can´t be verified as such,  careful archive, cartographic and photographic studies can often offer more information that in due time forms the basis for scientific conflict archaeology fieldwork.

In the rocky soil of the archipelago cairns sometime mark WW2 grave sites.

If you have any knowledge of war graves on the Hanko peninsula please contact us. Every soldier despite of Nationality deserves a name and a decent grave.


Thursday, 3 September 2020

Reburial ceremony of 7 Soviet soldiers

Today we attended the reburial ceremony of 7 KIA Soviet soldiers that our team found and excavated between 2018 and 2019.  The ceremony was attended by approximately 50+ people and we were welcomed by the Russian ambassador H.E. Mr Pavel Kuznetsov and Deputy Military, Naval and Air Force Attaché Colonel Ivan Gorbachev. Several representatives  from the Embassy of the Russian Federation , the Embassy of Kazakhstan and Belorus attended the impressive and at the same time solemn procession.

The first speaches were held by Governor Pavel Kuznetsov and Mr Pertti Suominen (Sotavainajien muiston vaalimiyhdistys ry) after which I had the opportunity to voice a few words on the benefits of scientific repatriation of war dead and the growing general interest in conflict archaeology in Finland.

When the official ceremony had ended  Ms Zhanna Sartbayeva, the Governor of Kazakhstan initiated a personal and very pleasing discussion with me about the benefits of scientific repatriation of war dead. Ms Sartbayeva showed a very honest appreciation of our work which I of course appreciated very much.

In the afternoon our excavation team gathered at the Hanko Front Museum where I gave a lecture about upcoming battlefield archaeology work in the Hanko and Raseborg archipelago in 2021.

In 1940 and/or 1941 seven very young Soviet soldiers arrived in Hanko S. Finland only to die a year later in the defense of "Gangut" the Soviet naval base in Hanko. When their comerades were evacuated in the late months of 1941 their graves were left without attendance for 78 years. Today they were finally reunited with the other fallen Soviet soldiers of the Hanko front.

For these seven young men the war is finally over. Seven red roses adore their 78 year long (temporary) reconstructed resting place in 2020.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

War dead, battlegrounds and more...

02.09.2020 Wednesday (day three).Today we visited one of several scenes of the ferocious battles that raged in the Hanko archipelago in the summer and autumn of 1941. The main reason for our fieldtrip was to gain as much information about the island in question before the large scale battlefield archaeology fieldwork scheduled on the group of islands in 2021.

First off was the site of a grave marker with the text "39 Soviet seamen, died in 1941". The cross could mark a grave somewhere in the vicinity or it could be a cross raised in memory of the fallen. I will return to this mystery in upcoming blog posts.

Next we visited the areas of intense battle on the island all of which will be carefully documented and mapped next spring. This was both exciting and very tragic at the same time as traces of the battle could be observed everywhere despite the 79 years that had passed since the battle took place. It was quite shocking to think about the horrors that took place in this beautiful setting.

The third assignement was to try to locate the traces of an aircraft crash site from 1941. Areas of debris was documented and plotted on a map. We will see what can be done here in 2021 in co-operation with the Finnish Aviation Museum.

The Hanko 1941 team would like to thank the landowner for his co-operation in documenting the WW2 remains. A big thanks to the crew from the Finnish Television (MTV 3) for the professional interviews and filming of our hard work today.

Monday, 31 August 2020

Seven days of excavating the WW2 battlefields of the Hanko front

31.8.2020 Monday (day one). After introductionary lections at the Hanko Front Museum our small but efficient team of nine opened up a couple of trial excavation areas in close proximity of the frontline trenches, shelters and other constructions in the area around the museum.

BA Jaakko Ervasti supervising the trial excavation near one of the WW2 shelters in the area. Photo Jan Fast.

 The main goal is to make preparations for the large scale excavations in 2021 and of course the conflict archaeology excavation day with local schools on September 19th 2019.

BA Fanny Fagerholm (Hanko 1941 team member) supervising the trial excavation. Photo Jan Fast.

As many interesting and also tragic events occurred in this particular area we wish to concentrate on the areas providing the most infomation and finds that illustrate the events that took place here in the summer, autumn and winter of 1941.

Hanko 1941 team members opening up a fresh trial excavation area. Photo Jan Fast.

The task is not an easy one as much has happened here since the war and the undisturbed spots are hard to find and often buried deep underneath the topsoil.

Trial excavation area prior to excavation. Photo Jan Fast

It is during times like these I feel very grateful indeed to have two very skilled archaeology students in my team. BA Fanny Fagerholm from the University of Uppsala and BA Jaakko Ervasti from the University of Oulu.

9mm sub machine gun bullet. Photo Jan Fast


Sunday, 19 July 2020

Check out the latest news fom the Hanko front!

Daily updates with pictures of finds from the scientific WW2 Battlefield Archaeology excavations in Hanko here!

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

WW2 Battlefield Archaeology in Hanko 13 - 24.7.2020. Daily updates!

This years scientific battlefield archaeology research of the lesser known 1941 Hanko front (S. Finland) will concentrate on the first early months of  "Operation Barbarossa" where Finnish troops and soldiers from twelve (!) different nationalities fought against Soviet forces on the Hanko peninsula, in the southernmost part of Finland.


So far we have only been starting out but tomorrow we will finally dig in to the very rare time capsules of this battle that include burnt down frontline shelters and tunnels dug by Finnish troops under the main roads in the area.
... and now.

Finds are of course plentiful but this season we are mostly trying to find those real hotspots where individual soldiers war experiences can be verified by archaeological finds.

Tomorrow we will start excavating one such site, a small 2x2 m. burnt down shelter from the autumn in 1941. As it now seems a complete array of finds left behind by the four soldiers who left the shelter in September 1941 expecting to return in a couple of hours are still buried (79 years later) underneath the charred remains.

A WW2 conflict archaeology closed find in Hanko S. Finland.