Public excavations in Inari, Finnish Lapland

Opportunity to join the excavation of Second World War German military hospital site

In the first week of August (Monday 1st–Friday 5th) volunteers are invited to join the Lapland’s Dark Heritage team, from the Universities of Helsinki and Oulu, along with the Siida Museum, to investigate a Second World War site in Inari, Lapland. We will uncover and document the remains of German military hospital site destroyed and burned in 1944 during the Lapland War (1944–45) in Inari.


 “Our project seeks to understand the diverse cultural values and meanings associated with the material heritage from the German military presence in Lapland. The significance of northern Finland’s WWII heritage will be considered broadly against Lapland’s wider historical, cultural and environmental context by our multi-disciplinary team”, says project director, Professor Vesa-Pekka Herva (University of Oulu).

Archaeologist Oula Seitsonen (University of Helsinki) adds, “WWII hospital sites have never been archaeologically explored before in Finland, or elsewhere in Europe for that matter – earlier archaeological studies have concentrated on more martial sites, such as fortifications and military and prisoner-of-war camps. We know from interviews that besides German soldiers also the Inari villagers were treated at the site by German doctors and nurses, and the site forms a pertinent part of the local heritage. The site has always been known to the locals, but it was not known to the heritage authorities before 2015.”


“In order to make sure that the volunteers receive the right supervision and training, the places are limited. They will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, so it’s important to register as soon as possible if you want to take part!” says museum studies lecturer Suzie Thomas (University of Helsinki).

No previous archaeological experience is necessary, and we welcome all ages (although volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied and registered by a responsible adult).

Besides excavation, there is a daily programme of other events, such as public presentations by specialists and special guided tours. Volunteers need to arrange their own accommodation (contact the project if you need advice about this) and to organize their daily transport to and from the site.

It is important that when registering, the volunteers mention any medical requirements and conditions that might affect well-being at the site: excavation work is physically moderately demanding. 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 consent form at the site. Participation fee is 5 € / day or 20 € / for whole week. Fee covers excavation gear, tools and coffee. 

All volunteers need to pre-register

For further information, contact: or +358 50 448 7778 (Oula Seitsonen).

Visit the project blog and follow us on Twitter: @DarkLapland.