Saturday, 18 April 2015

New 3D model of the anthropomorphic clay idol "Tuima" !!!

The clay figurine was found in 1989 and reported in august 2014. Photographer Ari Ellert has now made a new 3D model of the figurine!

 A picture of the scanning @ Heureka in 2014. The scanning was done by VERSOTEC solutions.

The new 3D model can be seen here! Just click, rotate and enjoy

The crew for the upcoming one month dig at Jokiniemi now numbers some 60 + people !!! One of the excavation areas will be situated at the spot were the amazing anthropomorphic figurine was found in 1989. You can participate in the dig through this link (Heureka web ticket shop)

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Poetic Archaeology

These pictures form part of the scientific research of "Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942-1944" called "Poetic archaeology".  "Poetic archaeology" is funded by Vetenskapsrådet (SWE) and administered by researcher Jan Martti Kaila.

I´m sure You can appreciate the idea of the artsy and scientific side of things when looking at these first pics of one of the "Mannschaftsbaracke" from the German WW2 transition camp. All pictures are taken by Jan Martti Kaila and published by courtesy of the project.

Friday, 10 April 2015

A few more period finds from yesterdays trial excavation and survey of "Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942-1944"

I still feel quite worn out after yesterdays endeavors but I would like to share a few thoughts and finds with you. First one off is a picture by photographer and professor Jan Kaila with whom I have been working closely together since march 2015.

Jan Kaila has been tirelessly documenting the insides of still standing structures of the WW2 German transition camp. This is a very tough job and I have to say I admire his courage and motivation to really get into the "Mannschaftsbaracke". It´s a dangerous job.

Photo by Jan Kaila. HBK 64 Baracke.

More finds from yesterday, all documented within their context, included buttons and buttons. Medical tubes with a connection to the delousing of soldiers arriving from the "Nordfront" as well as a few personal items such as glass beads etc.

The road to the "Gepäckbaracke" was littered with German buttons and a variety of other small items.

Buttons and other stuff from the road leading from the railway to the "Entlausungsdorf" area

Text on a medical tube found inside the "Gepäckbaracke".

Children in WW2 as part of my "Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942-1944" project

Archaeology in general and especially conflict archaeology is very seldom about children in war. As a part of the preliminary research around German transition camp in Hanko Finland I have tried to listen extra carefully to the voices while interviewing local (now old) people who were kids at the time. I find their stories spellbinding.

Christmas with a Luftwaffe Leutanant in Dalsbruk SW Finland in 1943. Picture by courtesy of Cris Fabricius.

Kids playing around with German soldiers, trading with the soldiers and experiencing things that their parents didn´t know of at the time. Scary confidential stories, friendly encounters and secret hiding places. Playing tricks in the "Soldatenkino" finding lost guns and ammunition in the camp. Kids are kids they have a different view than grown ups, now and then.

An Estonian girl, an (Estonian) Jewish girl and a German BDM (Bund Deutscher Mädel) girl were good friends before the war. Photo by a Finnish girl from Ekenäs Finland. Picture from the book "Det finns en plan för varje liv"by Margareta Willberg.

Children leave only a very faint archaeological record but I suggest to follow even the faintest thread to discover their long lost stories of WW2 before it´s too late. I will include a few digs of the secret sites of kids in Hanko in my "Deutsches Lager Hanko 1942-1944" project.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

First small scale dig of the WW2 "Deutsches Lager Hanko" today!

This was the day I had been planning for the whole long winter. The first real field trip to the WW2 German transition camp in Hanko S Finland. Sun was shining (+ 6 C) and I was accompanied by a great team, no wonder then that the results were very good although we only had five hours at the site.

The research area, where the "Gepäckbaracke" of the "Entlausungsdorf" used to stand 1942-1944.

After marking the grid  we started work. This day was actually more about locating the "Baracke" in itself, not so much about the finds actually. I had  anticipated that the area of the barracks would be more or less clean of finds, and that actually proved to be the case. What happened next proved very interesting indeed as we located an area of intense activity close to the road that once led to the "Baracke" from the delousing facility close by.

Lidar picture covering todays research area. 

Buttons, buttons and more buttons marked the area were soldiers possibly had been dressing up after delousing. Interestingly enough the area also contained  finds of a different character such as coins and Mauser ammo clips and live Mauser ammo. Below are a few of todays finds (some 70 of them in all). The excavations will continue in a week or so.

German tunic button with maker mark (1/12)

German cartridges...

and Mauser ammo clips

 More buttons...



Thursday, 2 April 2015

Springtime for the Finnish archaeologist

It´s been a while but now it´s back to business here again in Finland. The past winter in southern Finland was very much like in my childhood (tens of years ago). Snow, no snow, freezing and then again no snow, more snow and... at least for now... less snow. During winter I  have been occupied with lecturing in schools museums and libraries and such but soon it´s time for fieldwork again!!!

A couple of weeks back me and professor (and photographer) Jan Kaila visited "Deutsches Lager Hanko" for the first time this year. It was cold as hell, and for the days after I felt the pain of our visit. The site was very much like I left it in 2014 with not much damage done by the elements to the buildings.   I have to admit that I felt comfortable with Jan Kaila and his companion Japo Knuutila by my side. An abandoned German transition camp can at times feel a very "sad" if you are all alone at the site.

The railroad track from the  nordfront to "Deutsches Lager Hanko". Photo Jan Fast.

The incoming summer I will also (again) be conducting archaeological excavations of the neolithic site at Jokiniemi, Vantaa S Finland. Lecturing about the upcoming excavations in schools and local libraries  this winter has been a blast. Seems like this is the best way to reach out to committed people into archaeology in Finland. At the moment some 50+ people have announced their participation in the upcoming dig. More about this during the next couple of weeks :)

My good friend "Heikki". 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Great meeting @ Heureka today (again)

Putting the final pieces of the community archaeology dig at Jokiniemi in place. All is now set to go. After the meeting I just had to stop by the neolithic dwelling site again. It was raining sleet and I couldn´t help thinking about what the place looked like 5500 years ago.

Then (3500 BC) a seashore. Now 5500 years later an agricultural landscape.

I feel extremely grateful for all the support I´ve got from Heureka the University of Helsinki, the city of Vantaa and the lovely amateur archaeologists in Ango ry. I will be lecturing about the dig in libraries in the larger Helsinki region in march and april 2015. 

Indy(ish) poster for one of my upcoming lectures (Tikkurila library). 

I would also like to express my deepest thanks to the "lone digger" who reported his find of the incredible anthropomorphic clay figurine he found in in the area in 1989. Well done!! We will be excavating the site of this remarkable find in 2015! 

The anthropomorphic clay figurine "Tuima" was found in 1989. The finder wants to remain anonymous. 
Photo Tiede Magazine.

Don´t miss out on the upcoming dig 22.6 - 19.7.2015. It will be The experience of a lifetime!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

"Finnish Idol"

March and April are hectic months for the field archaeologists in Finland. The writing of last years excavation reports and the planning of the upcoming short field season is in full swing and the money is as short as it always was ;).

Neolithic pottery "boxed".

As if all of this wasn´t enough I have indulged myself in writing about the neolithic anthropomorphic clay figurines from Jokiniemi S Finland for Tiede magazine. The article was published yesterday and I have to admit I feel a little bit proud about the whole thing.

The front cover of Tiede (Science) magazine 3/2015.

Despite the articles drawbacks or  faults (meaning You can´t always advertise the phrase "This is only a hypothesis") I still think the article is a lot better than nothing at all. Archaeology is and always will be not so much about definite proof as about new evidence tested with what could have been an what absolutely not. Enjoy and above all join the excavations at Jokiniemi in the summer of 2015! It looks kinda grey at the moment but believe me... summer is here soon :).

Jokiniemi neolithic dwelling site 2.3.2015.