From 22 to 27 August 2022, on the site of the former prisoners-of-war camps in Lamsdorf (Łambinowice), a team of archaeologists headed by Dr. Dawid Kobiałka, and supported by the Museum employees and volunteers, was conducting excavation works.
It was a pilot and reconnaissance work. The purpose of it was to uncover the remains of one of the barracks that served as a lazarette in Stalag VIII B Lamsdorf, where during the Second World War were housed chiefly soldiers of the British Army. The site has been selected on the basis of an analysis of historical aerial photographs, the results of aerial laser scanning, an archival research and a site visit.
The excavations began with the removal of several centimetres of forest litter. Soon when this action was completed, it was possible to uncover an outline of the floor of the lazarette and unearth the remains of its external walls. The camp hospital was a large building, 63x15 m, so the excavation was done in a dig which cut across the barrack. It allowed to find and document where the walls were and the place wherein doors to the side rooms were located.
In the proximity of the discovery, there was established a second dig. There were stumbled upon the foundations of a tiled stove and fragments of clay tiles – some of them had floral motives and the producer’s signs. There were also recovered many artefacts, mainly related to the life of prisoners-of-war and the camp hospital which operated at the site, such as: medical needles, fragments of a razor, underwear and uniform buttons, metal utensils, fragments of barbed wire, nails, and cast iron elements of heaters.
The researches were not limited to excavations. In the cemeteries at the memorial site were taken samples of soil and were conducted ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys which might help to locate mass graves that may be in the area. The research team used modern fieldwork techniques – the artefacts and building structures were located three-dimensionally what helped to prepare the so-called photograms. The found bigger relicts of the barrack wall were cleaned and documented for to prepare 3D models.
On the whole, the conducted works should be regarded as successful. They served as a prelude to several weeks of excavations scheduled for 2023. Like this year's, they will be carried out as part of the project 'Science for society, society for science at the Site of National Remembrance in Łambinowice', subsidised by the Ministry of Education and Science.
Also, looking from a perspective of the social aims of the project one can be content with the first stage of the fieldwork – the effort of the archaeologists was double here because it was not just limited to the essential excavation works in and around the digs, but also focused on the volunteers who, every day, participated on an equal footing with the professionals in the following tasks: removing humus, carefully exposing fragments of finds, preparing objects for photogrammetry and even documenting them together with the archaeologists. They also observed how soil sampling, working with GPR or a drone is done. Above all, they could inundate the archaeologists with questions, which were always fully answered.
To the archaeologists and volunteers we say a big thank you!