On Monday we will continue the excavations of the massive underground command post used by Soviet general Sergei Kabanov in 1941 during the early days of Operation Barbarossa. The excavation is finaced by Mr. Kari Karvinen and Hangö Sommaruni. Additional finacial support for excavations of the site with schoolchildren from Swedish speaking schools in the larger Helsinki region has been granted by Thure Galléns stiftelse.
Friday 29 April 2022
Thursday 28 April 2022
Today we continued the trial excavations and documentation of one of the many military camps behind the frontlines where women plated a major role. Todays area was used by Finnish soldiers and Swedish volunteers during the battles on Hanko peninsula in 1941.
We focused on a dump site associated with one of the canteens in the rear area. The cantine burned to the ground during the battles and offers a glimpse into the materiality of this side of the conflict on the Hanko Front. As evidenced by the porcellain artefacts this particular canteen was run by female staff from RSHY (Rannikkosotilaiden Huoltoyhdistys).
Today we only excavated the top laters but found many interesting items. Cap cockades, ink bottles, bakelite cigarette holders, wartime (Arabia) porcellain plates and cups, alcohol bottles etc. etc. We will finish excavating this well preserved dump site tomorrow.
Wednesday 27 April 2022
Today we made our first search in the Hanko archipelago where bitter fighting between Finnish and Soviet forces took place during the summer and autumn of 1941. Our mission was twofold, to search for missing and KIA soldiers and document the remains of the battles. Both of these objectives where successfull today.
We were transported to the research area with a landing from the Finnish Defence Forces. A very safe, comfortable and speedy ride which greatly helped our research, allowing us to spend more time mapping and excavating the sites.
Today we managed to find at least two final resting places of fallen Soviet soldiers. As we were not there to repatriate the remains we only dug as much as was absolutely necessary to identify the places as graves and plot them on maps for possible future recovery.
The battlefield sites were carefully mapped and no items removed from their original context. We will be back to map the areas in more detail in the near future.
Tuesday 26 April 2022
The winter of 1942 was exceptionally cold in Finland and German Gebirgsjäger needed shelter from the elements when they started arriving in Hanko in January and February that same year. Finding the long lost camp site is crucial for my PhD titled "Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942-1944 - The Modern Conflict Archaeology and History of a Second World War Transition Camp in Hanko S. Finland".
Monday 25 April 2022
Today we kicked off the 2022 field season by taking a first look at an area were supposedly 12-20 Soviet soldiers were buried (and subsequently forgotten) in 1940-1941.
No signs whatsoever of the low mounds so typical for the Second World War Soviet burial sites in Hanko. Today just the singing of birds in the trees and a cool breeze from the sea on this very peaceful area. We will take a closer look at this area later this week.