Season 2, Day 1: 27 March 2015

Ashtray from Hotel Chagnot, Lille. Perhaps not somewhere to go for a romantic weekend ...

Ashtray from Hotel Chagnot, Lille. Perhaps not somewhere to go for a romantic weekend …

Today was the first day of the second season of the excavation at Lager Wick. This year we have two areas of focus: the so-called latrine block (is that really what it is? It’s the only concrete structure still surviving on the site) and the area of a burnt barrack block – one of three that burned down in April 1943.

I was very pleased to see a new addition to the site – an information panel saying that the site was used as a labour camp during the German occupation (see picture). This makes Lager Wick the first camp in the Channel Islands to have any heritage recognition. Momentous occasion!

This year the excavation team comprises me (Dr Gilly Carr, University of Cambridge), Dr Claudia Theune (University of Vienna) and Mr Peter Masters (University of Cranfield); Peter arrives tomorrow and is the excavation geophysicist. The excavation is being supported by the British Academy and the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research in Cambridge.

Claudia and I realised quickly today that we need more people on the dig as there is a lot of work to do, so if anyone reading this is in the mood to turn off their computer and jump on a plane to Jersey, please contact me. This is a serious offer. I cannot pay any expenses, but if you want to join us, we need you! I need about 2 or 3 people, and I’d prefer it if you have experience, but if you’re willing to come, let me know! The last day of the dig is 2 April.

Anyway, today we started stripping the soil off the latrine building (see picture). This was extremely interesting as it revealed a few small finds (some barbed wire, some window glass, a little cache of limpet and ormer shells hidden in a corner which I like to think could have been put there by a forced labourer), some corrugated asbestos, and some tiles. But the happiest moment came today when Claudia found that part of the concrete floor of the ‘latrine’ sloped down towards a drain, which helps to secure the identification of the building. We also found an old ash-tray from a French hotel, so we’re wondering if it was filched by a German soldier.  I’ll try to post a picture of it tomorrow. By the end of the day we were covered from head to toe in mud (it was raining) and I didn’t want to get my camera dirty!

Lager Wick as a heritage site!

Lager Wick as a heritage site!

Claudia Theune standing by the latrine of Lager Wick

Claudia Theune standing by the latrine of Lager Wick


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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