Second season of excavations at Westerplatte reveals more artefacts

After successful last season archaeologists plan to excavate the remains of old barracks, administrative building, and the surrounding of the guardhouse no. 5 located once at the are of of the Polish Military Transit Depot at Westerplatte, Gdańsk, North Poland, the site of Polish resistance against German invasion in 1939.

Excavations at the site (by Adam Warżawa)

The excavations at the Polish Military Transit Depot at Westerplatte started last year. Archaeologist managed then to excavate the are of the Guardhouse no. 5 and the officer villa. A preliminary survey with use of metal detectors was conducted in the surrounding area of both structures. A total of 1.5 percent of the whole depot has been investigated so far, and archaeologists estimate that this number should rise to 2 percent after the present season which will last till the second half of December. The researchers plan to investigate the area surrounding the guardhouse which was destroyed during an air raid on September 2nd 1939. They have already located a bomb crater at one of the corners of the structure. Other bombs are believed to have struck the guardhouse killing 6 soldiers. The crater is scheduled for investigation, as it is presumed that some artefacts belonging to Polish soldiers might have been thrown inside. Last year archaeologist managed to uncover around 4000 artefacts, including military and civilian buttons, Polish and German coins, ammunition shells, rounds of ammunition, fired bullets, etc. So far this year they have uncovered numerous coins, mostly dating to 1920s-30s, including a silver 5 Polish Zloty coin with an image of Marshall Józef Piłsudski, chief of Polish state between 1926-35.

Finds from Westerplatte (by Adam Warżawa)

Among the artefacts are also numerous uniform buttons, that include almost all types used by Polish Military in the interwar period, a pocket knife, a scapular with the initials MT, possibly belonging to one of the soldiers, a large collection of various trade seals bearing the Polish eagle and letters WST (Westerplatte) which secured entrances to the transit depot. in the vicinity of the administration building a cache of shells was found, where a machine gun post might have been located, but not present on any existing documents. Researchers have found also features linked to the existence of a resort that was located at Westerplatte before it became a military ground. These finds include porcelain fragments, tokens for renting equipment and coins from various times.

(after Nauka w Polsce, Anna Kisicka & Adam Warżawa)

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