Day 7: April 11th 2014. Dedicated to forced and slave labourers of the Channel Islands

Today was a special day in the project: I made the first cut into the first trench, dedicating it to the memory of all forced and slave labourers in the Channel Islands during the German occupation (see picture)Image.

I had few preconceived ideas of what to expect, except that local historian and Occupation veteran Michael Ginns told me that the Germans covered the western end of Grouville Marsh with a layer of sand before building Lager Wick on top. I hoped to find this layer of sand and some indication of the one-time presence of camp buildings. Peter had already detected the potential presence of traces of a building using resistivity, so after probing the ground and a spot of metal detecting, we chose the spot for our test pit and Marek and I started to dig (thank you Societe Jersiaise for the loan of sieves, kneelers and boxes!).

Instead of a layer of sand, we found one of grit close to the surface. Was this connected to the camp? Did the Germans dump grit instead of sand? Was this a higher, more recent layer that needed to be removed first? We will probably wait before answering that question with any certainty. The most interesting of few finds were the iron nails, which we think came from the camp. But we still cannot be sure yet and need to wait to see what turns up in other pits. Meanwhile the site is still strictly out of bounds to all members of the public while we carry out this first ever archaeological excavation of any labour camp in the Channel Islands.

We were on Channel TV this evening, on the 6 o’ clock news. Please see the link here:

http://www.channelonline.tv/channelonline_jerseynews/displayarticle.asp?id=510534

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About Gilly Carr

I am a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge's Institute of Continuing Education. I work in the field of conflict archaeology and POW archaeology, and my fieldwork is based in the Channel Islands.

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