Saturday, 15 September 2018

More work on the scientific conflict archaeology of Sovjet WW2 war graves in Hanko, S. Finland

Yesterday me and Mr Aleksi Rikkinen (Helsinki University) ventured on a 14 hour long journey, covering almost 600 kilometers, documenting and mapping archaeological sites in S. Finland.

Scientific documentation of  Soviet WW2 war graves in Hanko S. Finland. The work is done in co-operation with the embassy of the Russian Federation in Helsinki Finland.

Most of the fieldwork was done in Hanko as part of two large scale WW2 conflict archaeology projects "Durchgangslager Hanko 1942-1944" and "Hanko 1941" and in co-operation with Mr Teemu Väisänen (Helsinki University).

Scientific documentation of German WW2 remains in Hanko.

All the three of us would like to thank all of you responsible for getting these two projects going and financed. We are currently building a basecamp here in S. Helsinki (sharing the same workspace).

"Hanko 1941" reseraching and excavating a lost WW2 heritage 2018-2023.

Hopefully we will be able to share more WW2 stuff with all of you here in October 2018 (at the latest) so please stay with us!

Monday, 10 September 2018

Surveying and mapping WW2 war graves in Hanko S Finland 10.9.2018.

There was still a vivid air of summer around us today when we ventured on our first scientific fieldtrip in search of forgotten or lost WW2 war graves from the battles of Hanko front (25.6.-2.12.1941).

Clear skies above a dark heritage.

The day was successful albeit (of course) a sad one. We discovered and documented  at least six previously unknown graves dating to the Second World War and will continue our research in this particular location in the early spring of 2019. All of the fallen soldiers (including their material remains) fom the gravepit will recieve a proper burial after recovery.

The outlines of a grave are clearly visble after the removal of the topsoil and the uppermost excavation layers..

We will use every scientific method available to try to find out as much as possible, including the fates and identities of  these unknown soldiers during the years to come. We are working according to very strict ethic guidelines and will not give out detailed pictures of the recovery of the fallen.

Archaeology students measuring and mapping the WW2 graves.

Todays groundbreaking work was done in close co-opreation with Hanko Museum, "Sotavainajien muiston vaalimisyhdistys ry",  the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Finland, a small group of archaeology students from Finland (University of Oulu) and Sweden (Umeå Universitet) and with permission and help from locals and local landowners.

As a sign of respect for the fallen and their relatives there will be no other media coverage on this issue.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Community archaeology in Helsinki (Pitäjänmäki) 9.9.2018

Jump right in and check out amazing original stone-age (5000 tear old) finds "hands on", from the community archaeology dig in Pitäjänmäki (May 2018).

Archaeology is for everyone and for all ages!

Tomorrow you will also have a unique opportunity to pre register  your participation in the 2019 dig of this intriguing stone-age dwelling site  situated within minutes from Helsinki city centre!

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

"Made by History" a very nice new Finnish archaeology blog

This blog was started by my colleague and friend Teemu Väisänen just a way back. It´s both neat and informative.

Teemu and I, together with the also great Aleksi Rikkinen 😉, will be sharing a workspace in Helsinki together 2018-2019. Maybe we could blog together about or common interest in WW2 conflict archaeology here for a while during that  time! Stay tuned!

Community archaeology dig planned for June 2019 in Espoo!

From the early the 1990´s  until 2006  I supervised several large scale community archaeology excavations on exciting stone-age dwelling sites in Espoo. Next summer me and MA Janne Soisalo will try to continue the work in co-operation with local educational institutions.

From the excavationin in Lill-Ingåla in 2006. 
Photo: Tryggve Gestrin-Espoo City Museum

The excavation, that will probably be immensely popular, is planned to take place in June 2019 (the exact days will be decided later). If you are interested in participating here it is therefore necessary to send a preliminary letter of interest to as soon as possible! Please also make suggestions of dates (in June) when you would prefer to participate.

A stone-age (ritual) mace head (KM 2611:1) in the shape of a bears head found in Espoo. 
Photo: National Board of Antiquities-Musketti

No previous knowledge of archaeology is necessary. The excavation is suitable for all ages and especially families. A maximum of 20 participants are allowed to participate per day!

Link to the excavation report Esbo Bolarskog III (J. Fast 2002). This excavation was also financed by Esbo Arbetarinstitut.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

UPDATED!!! JFArchaeology preliminary (planned) community archaeology excavation programme 2019.

JFArchaeology preliminary (planned) and regularly updated community archaeology excavation programme for 2019. More information (including where and how to register, dates and excavation crew) here as things progress.

Please send all preliminary "letters of interest" to


Jan Fast, Janne Soisalo and crew

May 2019

5.5. Kirkkonummi, community archaeology excursion (and possible community archaeology rescue excavation later in 2019). 
The excursion is fully booked but you can check for cancellations
Arranged by:Kirkkonummen Kansalaisopisto
MA Jan Fast

6. - 24.5. Vantaa, trial excavation of a neolithic dwelling site with local schools. Planning in progress with Heureka the Finnish Science Centre. More info later this year!
MA Jan Fast and MA Janne Soisalo.

29.5 - 31.5. Raseborg Karis, excavation with local schools and community archaeology trial excavation. Planning in progress with Karis Hembygdsförening. More info soon!
MA Jan Fast and MA Janne Soisalo.

June 2019

3. - 9.6. Porvoo (Vävarsbacka), community archaeology rescue excavation of a neolithic dwelling site. Planning in progress with Borgå Medborgarinstitut. More info soon!
MA Jan Fast and MA Janne Soisalo.

13.6 - 19.6. Helsinki (Turkismiehentien leikkikenttä), community archaeology rescue and trial excavation of a neolithic dwelling site. Planning in progress with Helsingfors Arbis and Pitäjänmäki Seura ry. More info soon!
MA Jan Fast and MA Janne Soisalo.

24.6 - 30.6. Espoo, community archaeology trial and rescue excavation of a stone-age dwelling site. Planning in progress with Esbo Arbis. More info soon!
MA Jan Fast and MA Janne Soisalo.

July 2019

1 - 19.7. Hanko, "Hangö 1941-project". WW2 community archaeology excavation, lectures, excursions and other research. Planning in progress with Hangö Sommaruni. More info soon! 
MA Jan Fast together with two more archaeologists (or archaeology students).

August 2019

22 - 25.8. Lohja, community archaeology and rescue excavation of an early comb ceramic dwelling site. Planning in progress with Hiiden Opisto. More info soon!
MA Jan Fast and MA Janne Soisalo.

31.8 - 1.9. Kemiönsaari (Telegrafberget),  community archaeology excavation of an optical telegraph station dating to the Crimean War.
Arranged by Hembygdsforskarna i Kimitobygden.
MA Jan Fast and MA Janne Soisalo.
Register now!

September 2019

2. - 20.9. Vantaa, trial excavation of a neolithic dwelling site with local schools. Planning in progress with Heureka the Finnish Science Centre. More info in December!
MA Jan Fast and MA Janne Soisalo.

23 - 29.9. Kemiönsaari (Ölmosviken), excavation with local schools and community archaeology excavation of a late stone-age early bronze-age dwelling site. Planning in progress with Sagalunds  Museum. More info later this year!
MA Jan Fast and MA Janne Soisalo.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Saying goodbye to "Durchgangslager Hanko" 23.8.2018.

This was the last day of excavating "Durchgangslager Hanko" this (2018) season.

Student from Hangö Gymnasium at the dig today. Photo Jose Antono Botella.

Fantastic crew (again) with talented and attentive students from "Hangö Gymnasium" and my trustworthy companions, archaeology student Fanny Fagerholm (Umeå universitet) and Aleksi Rikkinen (Helsinki university).

Archaeology student Fanny Fagerholm, cataloging  German food ration cans in the field.

We finished the excavation season with a "hands on" lecture touching upon the questions of ethics in collecting original WW2 artefacts, illegal digging for relics and the posibilties of crowdsourcing in conflict archaeology.

Illegally dug Soviet ( rare winter camo) helmet for sale on the Internet.

We will continue digging into the history of WW2 in Hanko in September but his time we will be looking at the events in 1941, from the Soviet side. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Return to "Durchgangslager Hanko" 22-23.8.2018.

This time with a group of enthusiastic students from "Hangö Gymnasium". Despite the sun there was definitely a feel of autumn in the air.

Excavation in progress on one of the many dump sites of the WW2 transition camp.

Despite the rather short excavation time we managed to open up a new excavation area (an extension of excavation area two in the "Ukrainerlager" area of the camp. Nice finds here directly beneath the topsoil. Many small finds (coins etc.) were collected while sieving the dug soil.

Students from Hangö Gymnasium sieving layer one.

An IMCO "trench lighter"

Among the more traditional  finds of food ration cans an other camp debris there were many small finds like this clock winding key and the back plate to a pocket watch.

Among the bakelite and plastic artefacts were parts of soapboxes, a bakelite lid to an OSRAM spare light bulb container and many other small but interesting (still unidentified) finds.