Friday, July 23, 2010

Archaeologists dig German World War 2 POW camp, Finland

Archaeologists dig german world war 2 POW camp in Finnish Lapland. For information about Germans in Lapland and field research see for example:

World War II evokes images of Hitler, Hiroshima and Auschwitz – thousands of German prisoners of war (POWs) working in a Canadian logging camp figure less prominently in the popular imagination.

The history of these prisoners and one such POW camp is currently being uncovered by a team of researchers, led by Stanford Ph.D. student and archeologist Adrian Myers. Myers, researching for his dissertation, has returned to Manitoba’s Riding Mountain National Park this summer to examine and understand the lives of captured German soldiers sentenced to camps.

ects that helped supply Canadian homes with wood fuel, and unlike most camps, they actually volunteered to work at the Manitoba site.

“In general, Canada was pretty good. They treated the prisoners of war pretty well,” Myers said. “These prisoners of war actually volunteered to go to this camp where they would be working, so they knew what to expect: better conditions, better food… but they would be working.”

Today, little evidence of the life that existed there 70 years ago is discernible to an untrained eye. Much of the site’s contents were auctioned off
after the war in an effort to obtain some much-needed money.

“When we got to the site in 2009, what’s left is not much if you don’t know what to look for,” Myers said.

The most apparent remnants at the camp are the concrete foundations for various buildings. Myers and his team are using topographic mapping to help them come up with a more detailed picture of the camp when it was in use in the 1940s.

“When you’re on the site walking around, you see humps and bumps but it’s hard to make it out with a naked eye,” Myers said. “But with the mapping we’re using, we end up with a 3-D layer of the topography of the site.”

In addition to the building foundations, the team of researches has found smaller items, including bottles, jars, ceramics, tin cans and even canoes, which were carved by the prisoners in their spare time and were meant to be used on one of the nearby lakes.

The project has generated significant attention from a variety of sources, with press coverage in both Archaeology Magazine and National Geographic.

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