I don’t know what to say about the Nazi War Diggers’ latest episode of Battlefield Recovery, though it looks like Paul Barford will have something to say. I do know that I’ve never before seen a metal pole (probe/auger) used to try to find human remains in a suspected mass grave. Who could have guessed that the first probe in relation to the Nazi War Diggers would be on screen and being used by them?
I’m no expert, I’ve never excavated a mass grave and I haven’t excavated any site at all in years. Probes or augers can serve some purpose. And the Nazi War Diggers did have a local archaeologist with them. But conflict archaeologist Sam Wilson judged: ‘Probing a possible burial pit with an auger. Fucking clowns.’
In a textbook explanation, forensic archaeologists Paul Cheetham, Margaret Cox, Ambika Flavel, Ian Hanson, Tim Haynie, David Oxlee and Roland Wessling point out: ‘Intrusion by both probes and augers can… damage human remains if undertaken by inexperienced personnel.’ Retired law enforcement agents Dennis Potter and Kevin Kinnee note that ‘a clean metal probe can be used to further aid in locating the grave’s perimeter. Do not probe the center of the grave.’