1/4/2015: Day 6 of the excavation of Lager Wick: Saving the best till last!
Today was the last day of the second season of the excavation of Lager Wick, although I hope to upload some images of more objects in the days to come to get your feedback about identifications of some items.
In terms of finds, we have certainly saved the best till last! As one of the Murphy’s Laws of archaeology states, you will always find the best stuff at the end of the final day. And we did. But before I reveal the star item, I should tell you that the team were debating whether the barrack block we were excavating was used by forced labourers or by their guards. On the one hand, I wanted to find incontrovertible evidence that we had definitely found the camp and were not just paddling around in post-war refuse, so I didn’t mind which it was. On the other, I really wanted to find something that spoke about the daily life of the labourers. The evidence before today from this barrack block, which burnt down in April 1944, was: a cuff-link (see picture), a schnapps glass, a ceramic bird’s head (see yesterday’s post for both items), and a Jersey coin dated 1935. To me, this evidence did not suggest forced labourers. However, today’s find clinched it and it seems clear that this barrack block was used by the Organisation Todt guards. I found a ceramic disc with an eagle and swastika on it, dated 1941. I think that it was the base of a ceramic vessel of some sort. Perhaps any expert in Nazi ceramics reading this can identify and translate the potter’s mark for me? My own opinion is that this base of a vessel was deliberately modified (perhaps after breaking) in order to make a fairly regular shaped disc. This could then be kept as a souvenir of some sort.
Of the other finds today, I am uploading here a piece of embossed glass (I’d like to think that the leaf on the design was a oak leaf, but that’s because I’d like to think that I was on a roll today in terms of German occupation finds!) and a French coin / token dated 1922, with ‘Commerce’ and ‘Industrie’ on one side and I think ‘2 Francs’ on the other. Perhaps someone could tell me more about this? I am also attaching an image of a piece of metal which seems familiar but I cannot place it. It has the letter ‘K’ on the triangular piece at the end of the item. Again, any experts on German militaria, do leave a comment!
Tomorrow we have to backfill the site, but it seems that there MAY be a stay of execution for our latrine site. The Planning Department and the land owners will think about whether the site should be preserved as a historic building, but I need to know by 10am tomorrow! I’ll keep you posted. More tomorrow!