WW2 Battlefield Archaeology of the Hanko Front. ”Excavating the Hamsterbo Shelter” (Day 1/5)

I woke up at 5 AM and took the two hour long drive from Helsinki to Hanko to meet up with ”Sjöba” at the Hanko Front Museum.

Towards Hanko and ”the fog of war”.

In the early morning hours his digger dug down to a depth of 2,5 m below ground surface just in time before the excavation team of 18 people arrived at 10 AM.

The area of the dug down shelter pre excavation and during the removal of some 2,5 m of topsoil.

Although this first day of excavations was mostly about removing the sandy soil that covered the remains of the shelter we still managed to find quite a lot of mostly weapons related small finds like rifle, pistol and machine gun cartridges. Many of these had exploded as a result of beeing subjected to intense heat in the fire that destroyed the shelter in November 1941.

Partly exploded 9mm small arms ammo from the NW part of the shelter.

Other small finds included fragments of a Finish hard liquor bottle made by Riihimäen lasi and a charred gaming piece.

Bottle fragment (Riihimäen lasi).

The remains of the infamous tent stove that possibly caused the fire (by overheating) surfaced to the right of the entrance . Behind it we found well preserved unburnt remains of the westernmost wooden wall of the shelter.

The upper part of the tent stove that possibly caused the fire that destroyed the shelter emerges from the sandy soil after 80 years.

More tomorrow as we dig into the first real excavation layer!


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