Archaeologists plan to excavate Nazi “Death Valley”

Death Valley is the name given to a site in Chjnice, Poland where the Nazis carried out executions during World War Two.

It is estimated that the German SS and collaborating Police shot around 1000 individuals as part of an “action against the intelligentsia” at the site. From the beginning of the German occupation in Poland, Chjnice was witness to many atrocities inflicted on its local inhabitants.

In 1939, 208 psychiatric patients, 40 civilians and a priest were murdered. This was followed by a series of systematic killings against the Poles and Jews in the city and surrounding villages.

According to Dr. Dawid Kobiałka, from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology Polish Academy of Sciences, the bodies of the victims were thrown into shooting ditches and many burnt to hide the evidence. The Germans tried to keep the executions hidden from public knowledge, but the residents of Chjnice were certainly aware and coined the name “Death Valley”.

- Advertisement -

As part of a new project, funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, archaeologists are trying to locate the shooting ditches by using airborne LiDAR (light detection and ranging), ethnographic methods, analysing historical aerial photographs, satellite imagery and field surveys.

At the beginning of May 2020, an exploratory team went to the site and found shells of various caliber, clothing buttons and a fragment of a medal.

“We hope that such finds will help us in the precise location of the shooting ditches – adds Kobiałka.

Archaeologists plan to start limited excavations in August 2020.


Header Image Credit : D. Kobiałka

- Advertisement -
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is an award winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education and the BCA Medal of Honour.

Mobile Application


Related Articles

Inca quarries and road network found in Cañete

Archaeologists have discovered Inca quarries and a road network in Cerros de Quilmaná and Cerro Quinta Freno, in the province of Cañete, Peru.

Prison bakery for enslaved people found in Roman Pompeii

Archaeologists have uncovered a Prison bakery during recent excavations in Pompeii.

Baboons in Ancient Egypt were raised in captivity before being mummified

In a new study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, researchers examined a collection of baboon mummies from the ancient Egyptian site of Gabbanat el-Qurud, the so-called Valley of the Monkeys on the west bank of Luxor.

Archaeologists find 22 mummified burials in Peru

A Polish-Peruvian team of archaeologists have uncovered 22 mummified burials in Barranca, Peru.

Oldest prehistoric fortress found in remote Siberia

An international team, led by archaeologists from Freie Universität Berlin has uncovered an ancient prehistoric fortress in a remote region of Siberia known as Amnya.

Top 10 archaeological discoveries of 2023

The field of archaeology has been continuously evolving in 2023, making significant strides in uncovering new historical findings, preserving cultural heritage, and employing innovative technologies to study the past.

War in Ukraine sees destruction of cultural heritage not witnessed since WW2

The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 has resulted in a significant loss of human lives and the national and international displacement of many Ukrainian people.

Archaeologists find five Bronze Age axes in the forests of Kociewie

According to an announcement by the Pomeranian Provincial Conservator of Monuments, archaeologists have discovered five Bronze Age axes in Starogard Forest District, located in Kociewie, Poland.