Friday 19 August 2022

Stone Age finds and desant graves. Combining Traditional Archaeology and WW2 Conflict Archaeology

Today was another beautiful summers day in Elimäki. We continued excavating the Early Comb Ceramic site and during the lunch break I also had the opportunity to inspect the probable grave site of two Soviet desants (members of the Soviet Airborne troops) who parachuted in the area in 1941 and where shot (or exceuted) by locals upon capture.

The finds from the excavation site continued to astonish us bpth in quality as well as quantity. Today we also found this years first stone artefacts made of the semi precious material smoky quartz.

Artefacts made of  smoky quartz.

The day also produced several very large Early Comb Ceramic Culture potsherds. The size of these vessels must have exeeded 20 litres. The total number of potsherd is now well over 400. One of the potsherd found today was from the bottom of a clay vessel.

Large Early Comb Ceramic Culture rimsherds and piece of the boottom of a large clay vessel.

During the Second World War 1941-1944 several groups of so called desants parachuted into the Elimäki area. Their purpose to perform acts of terror and sabotage behind the frontlines. Dropped far from their operative areas the became easy prey for the locals and the home- and air defence troops.

Weapons and ammunition captured from a killed Soviet desant. Photo SA-Kuva.

In 1941 four desants were spotted in the Elimäki region. Two surrendered and were held in a sauna in Elimäki while the two others were killed or executed. The bodies were buried near an old sandpit and their final resting place was known only by the locals who at times visited the site to put flowers on their graves. The graves were clearly visible as two regular depressions three years ago.

The desants were shot and buried in sandy soil in two shallow pits in the fores by the edge of a field.

Nowadays the location of the graves is known only by one man who was kind enough to show me to the site. Today I only mapped the site and took some photos. We will take a closer look at the site in the near future to check that his story is correct and map the area properly.

The area of the two graves photographed today.

The sauna where the two surviving desants where kept beforethey were handed over to the Finnish military still stands. No mention about what happened to them remains but it´s highly likely that they too where shot after questioning.

The sauna where the surviving desants were held before beeing handed over to the Finnish military

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