Excavating the Airfield – Research of Feldluftpark Pori Continues

After the educational excavation organized for the students of PSYL, our team was joined by a group of participants through Pori adult education centre. With their kind assistance, we were able to continue excavating the Luftwaffe Airfield and to finish the first field season of Feldluftpark Pori research project. While the finds are currently going through some cleaning and cataloging, a few words can be shared of the excavation itself.With this new group, we continued the trench that had already been started with the high school students earlier – that being the unknown German barracks building at the very outskirts of the base. We also opened up a larger test trench over a German trash pit, with hopes of getting a larger sample of wartime German belongings.As the main excavation trench was already almost finished, it didn't take long for us to finish the job. One of the main goals for us was to empty the "Porin Matti" stove that still lied in the trench. While we had…

Soil Diggers in Action - Educational excavation at Luftwaffe Airfield

And so it began – the first archaeological excavation of Feldluftpark Pori research project! Last year the Finnish Cultural Foundation kindly granted us Mullankaivajat ("Soil Diggers") grant to organize an educational excavation together with the high school students of PSYL. After an uncertain start, due to changing covid restrictions, a group of ten students, two archaeology students and I headed to the site that once used to be a part of the Luftwaffe airfield in Pori.The site selected for the excavation was a German built barracks building, which first appears on the maps of the airfield in 1942. While the purpose of the building was unknown, it lied relatively close to buildings such as a canteen, stables and garage. The barracks survived the war and wasn't among the buildings that Germans destroyed while retreating from Pori in September 1944. In November 1944, the building is described as empty and unused by the Finnish Defense Forces.As the wartime purpose and th…

Researching the Hanko Front, Part III

Another peculiar and important excavation trench of the 2020 Hanko field season was placed over the "Hillock of Death", which is an ominous name given for a hillock where 17 Finnish soldiers lost their lives. On the hillock lied observation and listening posts and those unfortunate enough to peek too far from the safety of the trenches were shot from the Soviet side.What's peculiar about the site, is the fact that the observation post could possibly be linked to a photo of German SS-Kriegsberichters in 1941 (above). While the photo as taken at the Hanko Front, the exact location of the observation post in question is unknown.We approached the site by preparing a four meters long test trench over the remains of an old observation post. Our goal was to create a section, through which we could observe the shape and depth of the features left behind by dismantled constructions. However, the plans changed as we soon noticed that at least some of the wooden constructions still…

Researching the Hanko Front, Part II

The biggest excavation trenches of the 2020 Hanko field season were placed within and outside a dugout called "Hamster's Nest" (Hamsterbo). The site was selected due to a story surrounding it, as the dugout was mentioned by a Swedish volunteer soldier Åke Kretz in his book Frontvardag. In the book, Kretz not only describes the interior of the dugout, but also it's fateful end – a story which we wanted to follow through an excavation.

As described by Kretz, the small timber built dugout was built on the Finnish side of the frontline, only some 100 meters from the enemy. Even though the inside of the dugout was only 4 square meters, it housed four Swedish volunteer soldiers, including Kretz himself. Thus, it was given the playful nickname Hamster's Nest.
On one fateful night in September 1941, enemy activity was observed in no man's land in front of the Finnish trenches and the four men from the Hamster's Nest entered the listening post nearby to observe the …

Researching the Hanko Front, Part I

It was again time to head to the familiar city of Hanko, where we had conducted conflict archaeological research for the past few years. After finally finishing the excavations of the German transit camp at Cape Tulliniemi, it was time to continue with a new location. After the launch of Hanko 1941 research project, which concentrates on the material heritage of the Hanko Front, we had chosen to start the series of excavations from the Finnish side of the battlements.

In the Moscow Peace Treaty that ended the Winter War, Hanko was leased to the Soviet Union as a naval base. As the possibility of further battles loomed in the air, the Soviet troops fortified the peninsula with trenches, bunkers and multiple other underground constructions. As the Continuation War started in June 1941, the Hanko Front saw some skirmishes as well - as well as bloody battles for the control of surrounding islands. However, the situation did not last for long, as Soviet troops were forced to evacuate Hanko …

First public excavation of Feldluftpark Pori announced

Feldluftpark Pori research team and Satakunta Museum are proud to announce the first public excavation of Feldluftpark Pori research project. This year the excavation is organized through Porin seudun kansalaisopisto ("Pori area adult education center") as a course centered around conflict archaeology and wartime history of Satakunta region.

The course takes place in autumn with a programme as follows:
Thu 27.8. 18-19.30 History of Pori airfield and Satakunta in warTue 1.9. 18-19.30 Introduction to conflict archaeologyThu 3.9. 18-19.30 Archaeological methodology and techniques for excavationsSat-Sun 5.-6.9. 10-16 Excavation weekend 1Sat-Sun 12.-13.9. 10-16 Excavation weekend 2Tue 29.9. 18-19.30 Introduction to post-excavation work and findsThu 1.10. 18-19.30 Latest results of the research project, plans for the future and comparisons to other wartime research sites Participants not able or willing to take part in the excavation can choose to take part solely on the lectures w…

New Position, Familiar Setting

Two years ago I was hired by Satakunta Museum as "summer archaeologist" to organize their prehistoric collection and to visit potential new heritage sites that local people had reported from all around Satakunta province. Next year I returned to the same position, although this time my task was to document known heritage sites that were considered on the list of nationally significant heritage sites. The same tradition continues and I'm about to start my job at the museum once again – however this time my title is no longer a "summer archaeologist" but rather a researcher.

My tasks concerns mostly of the aforementioned conflict archaeology project Feldluftpark Pori, which is carried out in cooperation with Satakunta Museum. While the current pandemic has hindered the research advances, as all Finnish archives and museums were closed, now it's time to get back to business. In June, I will not only dive into the archives of Satakunta region, but I will also …