Huhtiniemi Project

Description

The aim of the Huhtiniemi project was to find out the soldiers which were possible executed by the Finnish army during the summer 1944 in Lappeenranta. According to the rumors, the Finnish officials organized the illegal court of justice which condemned the deserters which left their position in the front in the Karelian Isthmus in the Finnish army in June 1944 to death penalties. An essential part of the rumors was that the executed bodies were possible to find at the region of the Huhtiniemi camping site close to the center of the town.
The officials in Lappeenranta contacted Prof. Helena Ranta, the international specialist of the forensic archaeology to organize the project for indicate whether the rumors were true or false. Archaeologists were needed to make the field excavation under the leadership of Prof. Mika Lavento with the field leaders PhD Petri Halinen (2006), Vesa-Pekka Herva (2007) and MA Anna Wessman (2009). The project was carried out together with the department of archaeology and the department of juridical medicine. The main project had two parts. The first excavation was done on October 2006 and the second one in May and October 2007 and the last field session was done in May 2009. The 2006 excavation was financed by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the excavations in 2007 were financed by the Ministry of Education.
The cemetery was located and 13 bodies were excavated in 2006. The bodies were solders which were buried already during the 19th century, the age of which varied between 15-55 years. They died in the fortress of Lappeenranta. The cemetery implies more than 100 deceased, however. In 2007 trial excavations were carried out in four places but no remains of deceased were observed. In 2009 the trial excavation in Huhtiniemi did not uncover the remains of buried corpses. The main result of the excavations was that no executed soldiers existed in Huhtiniemi at the investigated places.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date01/01/200631/12/2008

Funding

  • Unknown funder: €100,000.00
  • Unknown funder: €37,000.00

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • forensic archaeolopgy, forensic medicine, natural scientific dating