Photograph courtesy Parks Canada
About the Project
It may be among the least studied aspects of World War II: the fate of German soldiers captured by Allied forces.
Archaeologist Adrian Myers is hoping to fill in part of this historical gap with his World War II Internment Camp Archaeology Project.
With an NGS/Waitt grant, Myers and his team have begun researching a World War II prisoner of war camp in Manitoba, Canada. Occupied from 1943 to 1945, the camp, at its peak, held about 400 German soldiers captured in North Africa after the Second Battle of El Alamein, an important victory for the Allies. In July 2009, with help from Jerram Ritchie, Adrian completed the first phase of fieldwork.
None of the original buildings at the Canadian POW camp still stand, but many signs of its existence remain visible. Myers and his team used basic equipment, such as GPS, tape measures, digital cameras, and weatherproof notebooks, to record the site. Earth and concrete foundations could be seen where the buildings had once stood. They also discovered the camp's concrete incinerator, two garbage dumps, and a decaying wooden canoe carved by the POWs in their spare time. There were POW-built gardens with walls made of cobblestones. Many of these are still visible. The team also discovered many smaller reminders of the prisoners' daily lives, including a broken mug and saucer and even beef bones leftover from one of their meals.
In summer 2010, Myers plans to return to the site with an expanded research agenda and more team members. They will start with comprehensive and precise digital mapping of all the remains, from large foundation walls down to individual fragments of broken glass. They will collect a sampling of the surface artifacts and then excavate in a few small test areas. This will determine where larger excavations will be carried out in 2011. Any artifacts discovered will be carefully labeled, packaged, and transported to the Historical Archaeology Laboratory at the Stanford Archaeology Center for further study.
Myers hopes his team's investigation of this historical site will contribute to a greater understanding of this time in history.
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Fascinating Conversations From Our Weekly Radio Show—Nat Geo Weekend
00:08:00 Bruce Bachand
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00:09:00 Catherine Jaffee
Turkey is famed for its honey, which is music to Boyd's ears—he has a notorious sweet tooth. He visited National Geographic grantee Cat Jaffee, a beekeeper who left her job in Washington, D.C. to make honey in rural Turkey. She says that bees harvest pollen from their surroundings: the best honey comes from bees with natural surroundings, large meadows, rather than urban environments. Most people, Jaffee says, eat honey that is basically a synthetic mix of sugars from all over the world.
00:09:00 Elizabeth Lindsey
Most of human history existed before the advent of GPS technologies that can pinpoint where we are at any time. National Geographic Fellow and ethnonavigation expert, Elizabeth Lindsey has taken it upon herself to understand what it was like for Polynesian explorers to colonize tiny, remote islands across the south Pacific Ocean. To better appreciate the skills it takes to study the clouds and winds in search of land, Lindsey plans to join a team of Polynesian women who are island-hopping using traditional methods: no GPS, no cellphones and no compass.
00:11:00 Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner(blurb here)
00:11:00 Lucy Cooke
00:11:00 Wade Davis
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00:09:00 Joshua Ponte Audio
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00:11:00 Nathan Wolfe
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00:11:00 Dereck and Beverly Joubert
National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert capture astounding images of African wildlife in their beautiful films. The Jouberts live in the African bush alongside the lions and other animals they profile. They explain to Boyd that, because big cats are in such danger, their work is now focused on conservation projects such as the Cause an Uproar program.
00:11:00 Lee Berger Audio
National Geographic grantee and paleoanthropologist Lee Berger has been searching for the fossils of human ancestors, but it was his 9-year-old son who stumbled upon the find of a lifetime: a partial skeleton that may very well change our understanding of the genus Homo.
00:07:59 Brad Norman
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00:11:00 Losang Rabgey
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00:11:00 Sylvia Earle
National Geographic Explorer in Residence Sylvia Earle has been deeper undersea than any other woman. Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author, lecturer, field scientist, and an inspiration to women around the world. She recently received the Royal Geographic Society’s 2011 Patron’s Medal. Boyd talks to Earle about some of her early dives in the Jim Suit.
00:06:00 Valerie Clark
National Geographic grantee Valerie Clark licks frogs for a living. As Clark tells Boyd, she’s not looking for Prince Charming. Instead, she is studying how the diet of frogs in Madagascar relates to the toxicity of their skin.
00:11:00 Bob Ballard
Boyd heads out of the studio to join National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Bob Ballard aboard his vessel the E/V Nautilus. Currently in Turkey, Ballard tells Boyd about the many shipwrecks he is finding in the Mediterranean. You can follow Ballard and his team, live as they explore the ocean at www.nautiluslive.org.