Archaeologists working on the Alderney Nunnery have discovered a World War ll bunker built by the Nazis that used the Roman stonework for extra protection during the occupation from 1940 to 1945
Image: Dig Alderney)
Archaeologists have found a Nazi World War ll bunker built inside the remains of a Roman tower on the Channel Island of Alderney.
The Alderney Nunnery is considered to be the best-preserved Roman fort in the British Isles and was used by the German military during their occupation of the Channel Islands.
The fort is a 320 sq ft building that was constructed around 350AD and is on the same island as the Nazi’s Lager Sylt Concentration Camp.
During the excavation of the fort, archaeologists found that the German bunker was inside it and so using the Roman stonework as extra protection.
“One surprise is that the Germans built their bunker right up against the Roman stonework,” it was stated on the on the Dig Alderney Facebook page.
Alderney was occupied by the Nazis from 1940 to 1945 with the population of the island evacuated beforehand.
The island was a key strategic location for the Germans as they sought to get the upper hand and carry out their invasion of the UK.
It was heavily fortified with bunkers and weaponry.
Alderney had the only two concentration camps in the UK.
It is thought that at least 700 people died in the island’s prison camps under the Nazis with data calculated from unidentified graves.
In a 2019 study, Prof Caroline Sturdy Coles reportedly came up with the figure which she described as “conservative” through aerial drone surveys and radar technology.
She was able to make 3D terrain maps to identify evidence of burial sites.
The island was given the codename “Adolf Island” during the occupation with prisoners brought there from 27 countries.
Dr Jason Monaghan told the BBC: “We have seen the way the Germans have inserted a personnel bunker exactly inside the old Roman tower.”
The work of the archaeologists involves trying to understand who built what with a “whole succession of buildings, drains and mystery walls intersecting each other”.
He added: “We’ve just come across three floors all on top of each other and we’re just trying to disentangle what eras they come from.”
The Nunnery fort has been occupied for around 1,700 years with remains from the Medieval era as well as the Tudor and Napoleonic periods, built on top of each other.
The site was confirmed to be from the Roman era in 2011.