Public Excavations of Second World War German military site in Inari in August

Lapland’s Dark Heritage (Universities of Helsinki and Oulu) is organizing, together with Siida – the Finnish Sámi Museum, a public excavation at Second World War (WWII)-period sites in Kaamanen, Inari, Lapland, 7.–16.8.2017.

The project already organized public excavations in 2016 on a WWII German military hospital site in Inari village. This time the sites planned for excavation are Haaraldinjärvi and Hyljelahti, which are located in Kaamanen village, Inari.

Historian Lars Westerlund has connected Hyljelahti to a German-run punishment camp (Polarstraflager), where Soviet Jewish prisoners of war were also accommodated. At both sites the prisoners were involved in road building and forest working, and at Haaraldinjärvi also in building the German military airfield.

Research conducted by the Lapland’s Dark Heritage research project has addressed, among other themes, WWII German prisoner of war (PoW) camps of Lapland highlighting many issues underrepresented in the documentary sources, such as information about the prisoners’ living conditions, relationships between the prisoners and guards, and the spatial organization of camps. The PoW camp studies can also act as lenses through which various wider issues can be assessed, for instance, about the views and attitudes towards the prisoners and human-environmental relations.

Volunteers welcome!

We welcome volunteers to take part in the excavations. All volunteers need to pre-register here. We can take a maximum of 10 participants per day. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Volunteers need to arrange their own accommodation and subsistence, and to organize their daily transport to and from the sites.

It is important that when registering, the volunteers mention any medical requirements and conditions that might affect their well-being at the site: excavation work is physically moderately demanding and takes place in all weather. The participants need to have a valid insurance covering any personal accidents on site, and have to confirm that they have been vaccinated against tetanus within 10 years. All participants are also asked to sign a form of consent for research purposes  at the site.

For more information, please contact us by email:

Read more from project’s activities here.

We also share news about our research in Twitter @DarkLapland and in Instagram @dig_Inari  #InariDig2

Video material about excavations in 2016 in Youtube:’s