My Favourite Things: Archaeology
What can I say? I am a history buff, I teach history, I read historical fiction and non-fiction, and I am drawn to anything historical, including archaeology. When I go on trips, I drag my loving and understanding family, who luckily love history as much as I do, on any day-trip to do with history and archaeology. A trip to the dreaded theme park is usually my way of paying back this lovely service to my children.
One of the articles that caught my attention this week was about Treblinka. The article was about the documentary that I watched on the weekend, "Treblinka: Hitler's Killer Machine". Of all the concentration camps that existed, Treblinka had the reputation of being one of the worst, thousands being killed over a 16-month period. The Nazis however, destroyed the camp in 1943, and until today, little physical evidence actually existed about the camp. Forensic archaeologist Caroline Sturdy Colls, the leader of the project excavating the site,and her team have actually found mass graves as well as physical evidence that gas chambers existed.
Treblinka was actually two camps whereby Treblinka I was a forced-labour camp where prisoners had to toil all day producing product for the Nazi effort while Treblinka II was a death camp with large gas chambers (one with a capacity of 600, the other with a capacity of 5000), using carbon
Most of the digging from Colls' team is currently taking place at the labour camp, using non-invasive measures out of respect for the Jewish traditions and laws that prohibit digging up grave sites. So far, they have found three large mass graves and have found bones, ammunition, and shoes on the surface around the camp. They use non-invasive laser techniques and other sophisticated techniques (lidar surveys, surface trenches and digging) to search for evidence.
Helga's Diary: A Young Girl's Account of Life in a Concentration Camp (reading it with my daughter) as well The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg. Teaching and reading these have made me more sensitive and alert to anything to do with concentrations camps and I am going through a phase right now where all I want to do is read this type of genre. Time to re-read Anne Frank, too?