Archaeological finds from Westerplatte survey presented

A selection of over 4500 artefacts recovered during archaeological survey of the Westerplatte area was presented in Gdańsk. Among the few artefacts that underwent conservation are fragments of uniforms, weapons, personal items and coins.

Ammunition shells (by Muzeum Westerplatte)

The artefacts were discovered during the research conducted by Muzeum Westerplatte in the area of the heroic battle of the Polish Army against German naval forces and soldiers and Danzig police in 1939 at Westerplatte, which marked the start of the Second World War in Europe. Excavations covered an area of about 8000 square metres where the Officer’s Villa and Guardhouse no. 5 once stood.

Polish eagle (by Muzeum Westerplatte)
Polish button (by Muzeum Westerplatte)

The excavations ended with November and were the first such intense study of the area. During the research archaeologist discovered and recovered over 4500 artefacts, among which many belonged to the intense period of the battles. The finds are dated to period of activity of the Military Transit Depot between 1926-1939 and the direct period of battles between September 1st and 7th 1939. During that time Guardhouse no. 5 was destroyed by a quarter-tonne bomb killing 10 Polish soldiers. Among the finds recently exhibited at the Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej (Contemporary Art Centre) in Gdańsk are eagles from hats, uniform buttons and other parts of the uniforms, hundreds of ammunition shells, lead seals with the Polish eagle and “WST Westerplatte” sign, a spoon used by the soldiers of the Guardhouse no. 5 in their last meal, and an undamaged bottle with garlic liqueur.

1 German silver grosh coin (by Muzeum Westerplatte)
A New Year’s coin issued by Gdańsk (by Muzeum Westerplatte)

Other finds include older artefacts from the Napoleonic Wars and battles between French and Russian forces at Westerplatte in the beginning of the 19th century. One of such is a well preserved cannon ball. During the research archaeologists discovered also numerous unexploded ordnance, including 150mm artillery shells, hand grenades and  Panzerfausts, which was surprising, because the area was already swept few times by sappers.

Lead Polish seal (by Muzeum Westerplatte)

Continuation of the research is scheduled for end of February if the weather conditions allow it and will last till the end of November 2017.Archaeologist plan to carefully excavate the whole available area of Westerplatte. The finds will be permanently exhibited in the Westerplatte Museum that is scheduled for opening on September 1st 2019.

(after Muzeum Weterplatte & Tró

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