Want to get your hands dirty this week? Archeology fans invited to join dig

Dr Gilly Carr, a senior lecturer in archaeology at Cambridge University, is leading a second dig of the site of Lager Wick, the camp which housed the labour force that worked in the German quarry at Les Maltières, behind the marsh, and fortifications along the east coast.

As they have only a week on site which ends on Thursday, Dr Carr is appealing for help.

‘We need more hands on deck,’ she said. ‘We need three strong volunteers to help us, male or female, who are prepared to work hard. They should wear waterproofs and sturdy footwear and bring, if possible, a garden trowel and shovel and bucket. We’ll take them on a first-come, first-served basis,’ she said.

A set of stairs have been uncovered at Lager Wick

Built in 1942 and abandoned in 1944, Lager Wick housed men from France, North Africa and Spain employed by the Organisation Todt, a paramilitary labour organisation. They were paid for their work but they had no choice but to work for the Germans.

Dr Carr, Professor Claudia Theune of the University of Vienna and Peter Masters from the University of Cranfield have so far excavated the floor of the camp ablutions block, exposing the floors of what they believe are basic toilets, a changing room and shower room.

They are also hoping to uncover the remains of huts which were destroyed by fire in 1942.

Dr Carr excavated the site in April last year, the first ever dig at a Second World War camp site in the Channel Islands. This time they are equipped with technology to identity areas of burning.

Dr Carr can be contacted on 07790 528424.

Day 4 of excavation of Lager Wick: a day of new architectural discoveries!

Today the sun shone – such a pleasant change after yesterday’s storm! And our geophysicist, Peter, finally made it over from Guernsey in the middle of the night, so he was able to carry out and complete the magnetic susceptibility survey today (see picture) in the hope of detecting areas of burning within the area where we know a barrack block burnt down in 1944. He identified a couple of areas of high readings, so we used the auger to do a quick soil sample and lo! We found small traces of burning (see picture). Alleluia! So our hopes are high for our first trench.

An ashtray found at the site

In the meantime, Claudia and I finished off the work we wanted to complete on the latrine block. The main question that puzzled us was the doorway – how did people get into the block? Where was the door? Claudia found 3 stairs hiding under the soil and a layer of ivy, and spent the day revealing them (see picture). We also tested our hypothesis that the latrine block was at the end of a bigger barrack block. We had wondered whether that barrack was entirely made of wood or whether it had a concrete foundation like the latrine block, so dug a couple of small test pits, but in both we found only the layer of sand upon which the camp was built, which confirmed that the block was at the end of a wooden barrack block.

An Occupation photo, with Bill Symes, Harold Le Druillenec, Hubert Lanyon and Frank Falla

ISLANDERS whose family members were deported to Nazi prisons and concentration camps during the Occupation are able to share memories of their loved ones on a Facebook page created by Dr Carr.

Channel Islander Victims of Nazism was set up by the Cambridge University archaeology lecturer in January for the families of more than 250 Islanders who were deported to Nazi prison camps across Europe, in addition to the 1,300 imprisoned in Jersey and Guernsey.

Dr Carr hopes that it will encourage Islanders to get together and share stories and photographs of the experiences of their loved ones, and learn more about the prisons and concentration camps.

She said: ‘The Facebook group has been set up so that the children, grandchildren and other relatives of these people might share the anecdotes that were told, as well as information from their own research, so that others can learn more about what was never spoken about in the home.

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