Saturday 30 June 2018

Review of the "Durchgangslager Hangö 1942-1944" exhibition in Hanko Museum

Yesterday I went to the Hanko museum to watch the new conflict archaeology exhibition "Durchgangslager Hangö 1942-1944". I found the exhibition very well designed and visually appealing. Not too much not too little.

I found it more focused on the human perspective rather than the strictly military, which it makes more easy, more attractive and more understandable for the target audience, which is not strictly military but much wider.

People that know what is in the box with the old cartridges doesn´t need any explanation, the ones that they don´t know, they are not interested either.

Also the exhibition makes very clear what kind of items you can find there if you go digging: broken common items and very rusty cans, items without "commercial interest", which will discourage people to dig illegally.

A detailed operational map with the front lines and the position of the units that went trough the camp and their names, are not necessary since it is a museum but not a war museum, so the human dimension and the strength of the photos, Gerd´s history and the pictures that shows mostly kids rather than victorious Arian heroes from Signal magazines, helps to make people get closer to the history of the camp.

I observed some families with kids and retired people reading, watching, with a big curiosity and respect.

I got the information book in English! 🙂It is very well made, explains everything, it is in a small format, all the info on the big pictures and good photos, easy to read and to keep, and at a very affordable price.

There is only two references to the SS in the exposition, and both are the same, the photo of one soldier. I found the decision to be a good one, if someone is interested, Internet nowadays explains everything, not necessary give to them more protagonism.


Jose Antonio Botella.

The archaeology of the DRK Schwestern of "Durchgangslager Hangö"

Today we finished off the first leg of the 2018 excavation season of "Durchgangslager Hangö". The weather was far from perfect so we concentrated on filling in ecavation area one and documenting the trial excavations of the DLAH site where excavations will continue next week!

The DRK members worked in the "Soldatenheim" close to their barracks
Below is probably the most intriguing find of excavation week one, a DRK uniform shoe. This is the first "Deutsches Rotes Kreutz Schwester" related item found in the German transition camp.

 A DRK dress shoe from "Durchgangslager Hangö"

Congratulations on this important find goes out to archaeology student Teemu Väisänen (Helsinki University) who located and excavated the find all on his own. I hope You can make use of this find in your archaeology studies and maybe do some more excavation work in this area during the upcoming weeks.

Teemu surveying the site as part of his studies at the University of Helsinki.

A big thanks to all the wonderful people who participated this week. A special thanks to archaeology students Teemu Väisänen (University of Helsinki), Fanny Fagerholm (Umeå Universitet) and Anu Varjo (University of Helsinki).

Grey skies over the "Dark Heritage" over Durchgangslager Hangö 29.6.2018. Photo Antonio Botella.

Thursday 28 June 2018

Massive German WW2 dump discovered in the DRK area of the camp

The DRK dump keeps on giving. It is interesting to note the difference between the very faint detector signals and the real situation beneath the soil surface!!

A few of the finds from the "Deutsches Rotes Kreutz (DRK)" dump site.

Apparently the very coarse soil fooled the metal detector and us in the beginning. We will finish off the dig at this site later this season.

Diggin the Ukrainerlager III dump site.

The dig in the "Ukrainerlager area" revealed many interesting closed finds from 1942 to 1944 aswell!

 A large 9mm cartridge shell

 Large bakelite container.

 German foot cream container.

 Porcellain container for antiseptic fluid (Oy ANTTOL Ab).

 Book page fragments.

Fishing float!

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Day three of the "Durchgangslager Hangö" excvation!

Wednesday 27th of June 2018 was a sunny and warm day here in Hanko and we enjoyed it to the max. Today excavation continued on both of the areas and we also made a tour of the barracks area. The wide variety of the hundreds of finds kept us exited to the last minute of the day :)

German Eau de Cologne bottle with its contents preserved!


 The "Ukrainerlager" dig photographed from the east.

 The DRK dig area.

 The remains of a German pocket watch.

 Finnish stark liquor bottle (ALKO)

 A small, completely preserved, double sided shaving mirror

 Brass spare parts and tools in a metal box.

Odd heavy brass item but most certainly military related!

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Huge amounts of WW2 finds! Excavating "Durchgangslager Hangö", day 2/15

Day two of the excavation and what a day it was!! Huge amounts, and wide variety of finds today!

One more Catholic rosary!

We continued excavation on both excavation areas and to our surprise both of them were extremely rich in finds. The finds from the DRK (Deutches Rotes Kreutz) area included fragments of old records, bottles, porcellain fragments, medical vials, well preserved cigarrette packages etc. etc.

Gerrman "Gold Dollar Cigarretten" package as found after 75 years in the soil!

Digging up a large can of "Sauerkraut".

Porcellain fragments from the nearby "Soldatenheim Hanko".

Most of our team dug the "Ukrainerlager" area which produced lots of finds already on day one and  day two was even better than the first day. The finds included many bottles, food ration cans and what was most delightful many personal belongings of German soldiers!

A German soldier scratched his initials on the lid of his messtin. 

Someone turned a Solingen cutlery knife, into a very sharp razor.

Bottles, bottles, bottles!

We will continue our research tomorrow, so stay tuned for more interesting artefacts from the dig!

Monday 25 June 2018

"Durchgangslager Hanko". The 2018 excavation. Day 1/15.

Finally. The first day of the 2018 excavation season of "Durchgangslager Hanko". We opened  up two very different excavation areas. One near the "DRK Unterkunfte" and the other one close to the "Ukrainerlager" area of the camp.

Excavating the "DRK Unterkunfte" area.

The DRK dump sadly proved quite poor in WW2 finds but we will take a closer look at that area tomorrow and dig a bit deeper. The Ukrainerlager dump was rich in finds of many sorts!

Excavating the large dump of the "Ukrainerlager".

A harmonica!

 A pipe by Fritz Büttner (Danzig)

Tomorrow we will open up a small excavation area in the "Finnenzelte" area of  the "Ukrainerlager".

A German (?) ankle boot.

Thursday 21 June 2018

The "Durchgangslager Hangö" 2018 excavation season starts on Monday!

I have been waiting a year for this excavation and now it´s finally just a few days away. The conflict archaeology dig in Hanko will be supervised by me and a very talented crew of archaeology students from the University of Helsinki and Umeå Universitet, each of them with a burning interest for WW2 conflict archaeology. Anu, Teemu, Fanny and Toni will present themselves and contribute to the blog in their own words during the dig.

German DRK propaganda card.

On week one (25.6-29.6) we will focus on excavations in the "Deutsches Rotes Kreutz" Schwestern area. Hopefully we can find traces of the daily life in the camp of these 31 female DRK members!

German patriotic matchbox cover.

Week two (2.7-6.7) will center on the area were German soldiers left the trains after the long journey from the Nordfront. Probably lot´s of personal items here (like the matchbox cover above).

Items found during previous excavations in the "Ukrainerlager" area in the exhibition @ Hanko Museum

On week three (9.7-13.7) we we will excavate the surroundings of the Ukrainian prisoner of war or "Hilfsfreiwillige" camp where we have located several interesting German dumps from 1942-1944!