Heinrich Natho and an archaeology of the northern periphery of war

At the northern periphery of war: An archaeology of Second World War sites in northern Finnmark, Norway.

The intensity of the impact of the Second World War on the landscape of Finnmark, the most northern county of Norway, is unique in Europe. When it became clear in autumn 1944 that the advance of the Russian army was unstoppable, Hitler decided to withdraw and raze to the ground an area bigger than Switzerland. What were left were a few villages and some individual buildings in a landscape of destroyed towns, settlements and infrastructure. Numerous military sites were also blown up as the German army withdrew.

My Magister theses will concentrate on some of the German military sites in the north of Finnmark. Located at the northern periphery of the war these can differ from what is usually observable in the rest of Europe.

Owing to difficulties in logistics and the harsh environment, the normally so strict “Regelbauten” were adapted to these specific conditions. This becomes particularly clear when comparing them to the bunker concepts expressed by Virilio. The discourse about “Bunker Archaeology” (Virilio 1975) will be the centre of research. In this way the German sites will not be considered solely for their local military function but as a part of the complex phenomena Atlantikwall.

For more information about the project: Heinrich Natho, University of Bamberg; Germany (email: heinrich-wilhelm.natho@stud.uni-bamberg.de)

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