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Introduction SS Division Part 2 (1/15)

Introduction Trails SS Division Part 2

In the first part of this account I invited you to join me on a trip into the young military past. The account described the end of World War 2 (WW2) in southern Germany and the hunt for relics at a researched location leading to the find of a Russian machine pistol. Today please join me again when we continue this journey though time. We will visit a different area called “skull hill” This hill controls a narrow valley leading into the alps. On May 3, 1945, German soldiers received order to seize this position to prevent US troops from passing through this valley.

Still, this account is not merely about WW2 and finds. Of course, finds were made and pictures will be shown, as in all accounts. But the real goal of this article is to present the story finds can tell. It is about find context and what it says about the history of skull hill from earliest times to the present day.

The finds will play the role of evidence in this “history scene investigation (HSI)”. They will serve as pieces of a puzzle. Lets try to reveal the big picture.

To do so I searched a large area of skull hill with utmost accuracy, noting the nature and exact position of all non-junk finds. Some 60 items were found ranging from medieval or even roman times to the 20. century.

The best way to visualize a find context are find maps. Thus find maps are a main issue of this article. The find spots were marked in a map using find symbols, e.g. a knife or a coin. The age of the finds was expressed by the symbol’s color. Did the resulting map show any find patterns? Did finds of a certain age cluster in a specific region?

As interesting as the find distribution may be it is also important to discover the relationship between finds and topographical details. Many centers of human activity throughout history depended on topography in one way or the other. In warfare people strived for the advantage of high ground. All settlements depended heavily on water. Castles were usually placed on high ground near important streets. Streets were build on flat and dry ground wherever possible. These are just a few examples. The more you know about the connection between topography and find concentrations the more you will learn from your finds about the historic event that took place. And the more you will be able to predict where promising search areas are located.

For these reasons maps play a fundamental role in the activities of many searchers. Today powerful map software is offered at affordable prices. You can scan your paper maps and use the resulting picture file. This software supports the research e.g. by transferring points and structures from one map to the other regardless of scale, map orientation, and distortions. This allows you e.g. to localize long since disappeared structures. Mark an old road on an old map and see where it is on a modern map.

In short, map software is equally useful during research as for search result presentation.

I am so fascinated by find maps and map software that I will heavily rely on them in this account. I tried to present the results in a way that interested readers find some ideas they can use for their own search.


(C) Thorsten Straub www.metal-detecting.de 2006-2011.

Metal Detecting the 17. SS Division Retreat Route Topographical situation (2/15)