Wednesday 29 April 2015

Rain and +2 degrees C in Deutsches Lager Hanko today...

But excellent light for the photographic work done by researcher Jan Martti Kaila and photographer Japo Knuutila. The batteries of their cameras kept running out in the cold and the rain. "Poetic Archaeology" in the making. Below are a few shots from their endeavors today. You can almost smell the damp wallpaper  and feel the cold...

Foundations of the WW2 "Küche" of the camp

Interior "Mannschaftsbaracke"

 Interior 2  "Mannschaftsbaracke"

Interior 3  "Mannschaftsbaracke"

All photos by Jan Martti Kaila for "Poetic Archaeology"

Monday 27 April 2015

Now and then photos in connection to the "Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942-1944" project

In june 1943 the Finnish SS volunteers who fought in "SS Divison Wiking" returned to Hanko Finland were the unit was disbanded in july the same year. Below is a picture of high ranking SS officers in Hanko on June 2nd 1943 and the same spot photographed almost 72 years later on April 23, 2015. The officers are (from left) SS Obersturbannführer Constantin Heldmann of the SS-Verbindungsstab and SS Obergruppenfürer Matthias Kleinheisterkamp of SS Gebirgs Division Nord. Photo work by photographer Harri Hietala and Jan Fast

This picture was taken in Hanko in July 1943 by a German "Kriegsberichter". One of the Finnish SS officers has already changed to a Finnish uniform. The "now" photo of the same spot was taken on april 23, 2015. Photo by Olli Wikberg, Jan Fast and photographer Harri Hietala.

The third picture and the one with which I will be working with next is a very sad and tragic one. It shows Ukrainian prisoners of war during a sermon in Hanko. The sermon was held (and the photo probably taken) before the prisoners were handed over to German authorities and placed in the prisoner of war camp inside "Deutsches Lager Hanko".

What happened to these men after the war we will probably never know... The upcoming archaeology of the "Ukrainer lager" prisoner of war camp might still offer some clues.

Saturday 18 April 2015

New 3D model of the anthropomorphic clay idol "Tuima" !!!

The clay figurine was found in 1989 and reported in august 2014. Photographer Ari Ellert has now made a new 3D model of the figurine!

 A picture of the scanning @ Heureka in 2014. The scanning was done by VERSOTEC solutions.

The new 3D model can be seen here! Just click, rotate and enjoy

The crew for the upcoming one month dig at Jokiniemi now numbers some 60 + people !!! One of the excavation areas will be situated at the spot were the amazing anthropomorphic figurine was found in 1989. You can participate in the dig through this link (Heureka web ticket shop)

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Poetic Archaeology

These pictures form part of the scientific research of "Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942-1944" called "Poetic archaeology".  "Poetic archaeology" is funded by Vetenskapsrådet (SWE) and administered by researcher Jan Martti Kaila.

I´m sure You can appreciate the idea of the artsy and scientific side of things when looking at these first pics of one of the "Mannschaftsbaracke" from the German WW2 transition camp. All pictures are taken by Jan Martti Kaila and published by courtesy of the project.

Friday 10 April 2015

A few more period finds from yesterdays trial excavation and survey of "Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942-1944"

I still feel quite worn out after yesterdays endeavors but I would like to share a few thoughts and finds with you. First one off is a picture by photographer and professor Jan Kaila with whom I have been working closely together since march 2015.

Jan Kaila has been tirelessly documenting the insides of still standing structures of the WW2 German transition camp. This is a very tough job and I have to say I admire his courage and motivation to really get into the "Mannschaftsbaracke". It´s a dangerous job.

Photo by Jan Kaila. HBK 64 Baracke.

More finds from yesterday, all documented within their context, included buttons and buttons. Medical tubes with a connection to the delousing of soldiers arriving from the "Nordfront" as well as a few personal items such as glass beads etc.

The road to the "Gepäckbaracke" was littered with German buttons and a variety of other small items.

Buttons and other stuff from the road leading from the railway to the "Entlausungsdorf" area

Text on a medical tube found inside the "Gepäckbaracke".

Children in WW2 as part of my "Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942-1944" project

Archaeology in general and especially conflict archaeology is very seldom about children in war. As a part of the preliminary research around German transition camp in Hanko Finland I have tried to listen extra carefully to the voices while interviewing local (now old) people who were kids at the time. I find their stories spellbinding.

Christmas with a Luftwaffe Leutanant in Dalsbruk SW Finland in 1943. Picture by courtesy of Cris Fabricius.

Kids playing around with German soldiers, trading with the soldiers and experiencing things that their parents didn´t know of at the time. Scary confidential stories, friendly encounters and secret hiding places. Playing tricks in the "Soldatenkino" finding lost guns and ammunition in the camp. Kids are kids they have a different view than grown ups, now and then.

An Estonian girl, an (Estonian) Jewish girl and a German BDM (Bund Deutscher Mädel) girl were good friends before the war. Photo by a Finnish girl from Ekenäs Finland. Picture from the book "Det finns en plan för varje liv"by Margareta Willberg.

Children leave only a very faint archaeological record but I suggest to follow even the faintest thread to discover their long lost stories of WW2 before it´s too late. I will include a few digs of the secret sites of kids in Hanko in my "Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942-1944" project.

Thursday 9 April 2015

First small scale dig of the WW2 "Deutsches Lager Hanko" today!

This was the day I had been planning for the whole long winter. The first real field trip to the WW2 German transition camp in Hanko S Finland. Sun was shining (+ 6 C) and I was accompanied by a great team, no wonder then that the results were very good although we only had five hours at the site.

The research area, where the "Gepäckbaracke" of the "Entlausungsdorf" used to stand 1942-1944.

After marking the grid  we started work. This day was actually more about locating the "Baracke" in itself, not so much about the finds actually. I had  anticipated that the area of the barracks would be more or less clean of finds, and that actually proved to be the case. What happened next proved very interesting indeed as we located an area of intense activity close to the road that once led to the "Baracke" from the delousing facility close by.

Lidar picture covering todays research area. 

Buttons, buttons and more buttons marked the area were soldiers possibly had been dressing up after delousing. Interestingly enough the area also contained  finds of a different character such as coins and Mauser ammo clips and live Mauser ammo. Below are a few of todays finds (some 70 of them in all). The excavations will continue in a week or so.

German tunic button with maker mark (1/12)

German cartridges...

and Mauser ammo clips

 More buttons...



Thursday 2 April 2015

Springtime for the Finnish archaeologist

It´s been a while but now it´s back to business here again in Finland. The past winter in southern Finland was very much like in my childhood (tens of years ago). Snow, no snow, freezing and then again no snow, more snow and... at least for now... less snow. During winter I  have been occupied with lecturing in schools museums and libraries and such but soon it´s time for fieldwork again!!!

A couple of weeks back me and professor (and photographer) Jan Kaila visited "Deutsches Lager Hanko" for the first time this year. It was cold as hell, and for the days after I felt the pain of our visit. The site was very much like I left it in 2014 with not much damage done by the elements to the buildings.   I have to admit that I felt comfortable with Jan Kaila and his companion Japo Knuutila by my side. An abandoned German transition camp can at times feel a very "sad" if you are all alone at the site.

The railroad track from the  nordfront to "Deutsches Lager Hanko". Photo Jan Fast.

The incoming summer I will also (again) be conducting archaeological excavations of the neolithic site at Jokiniemi, Vantaa S Finland. Lecturing about the upcoming excavations in schools and local libraries  this winter has been a blast. Seems like this is the best way to reach out to committed people into archaeology in Finland. At the moment some 50+ people have announced their participation in the upcoming dig. More about this during the next couple of weeks :)

My good friend "Heikki".