Tuesday 8 October 2019

Have you ever found a stone-age artefact? Show it here!

After seeing stone-age finds beeing presented on a variety of Facebook pages I decided that it could be of general interest to start a separate page for these. So here it is, let´s see what you have found!

Tuesday 1 October 2019

The scientific repatriation of seven KIA (1941) Soviet soldiers in Tvärminne, Hanko S. Finland

The excavation of the long lost grave site took place in May and September 2019 and was part of the larger scientific WW2 conflict archaeology project called "Hanko 1941". The work was carried out in close co-operation with The Russian Embassy in Finland, "Sotavainajien muiston vaalimisyhdistys ry", Hanko Front Museum and Hanko Museum (the town of Hanko).

Items (a pencil inserted into a Nagant cartridge and a 20 Kopek coin from 1941) from Grave I after conservation. Photo Jarno Huusko (Metropolia) for the "Hanko 1941" project

16 persons in all took part in the work, each with clearly defined different tasks ranging from documentation to excavation and forensic dentistry. All work was done as humanitarian (non paid) work.

Locals had cared for Soviet mass grave in the Hanko archipelago (Sommaröar) for decades after the war but today the site lays forgotten (right). Photo Jan Fast 1981.

In all a total of seven soldiers were repatriated using meticuous excavation and documentation methods. The excavation work proved that sientific archaeology has a significant role to play when collecting data about both burial practises as well as material remains and soil samples from the graves. All of these are of importance in gaining data about the circumstances around the death of the individuals as well as in the identification and general understanding of the relationship between the battlefield and the graves. 

Entrenchments and camp grounds in Tvärminne. Map by Aleksi Rikkinen for the "Hanko 1941" project.

All work was conducted in strict accordance with rules and regulations concerning the repatriation of fallen soldiers. We also documented and analysed the remains and took care of the conservation of the excavation finds. The Russian Embassy of Finland has promised to take care of the continued forensic examination of the soldiers remains and to try to find relatives to the deceased. The Embassy will also take care of the reburial which will take place in a near future.

The partly reconstructed grave site photographed soon after the end of the excavation. Photo Börje Österberg.

MA Jan Fast and Aleksi Rikkinen will lecture on the scientific work in Tvärminne and the "Hanko 1941" project during the conflict archaeology weekend at Hanko Front Museum 19th to 20th of October. Please notice that preregistration to the Hanko Front Museumis mandatory if you wish to participate in the lectures!