Roman tower was turned into Nazi fortress – archaeologists

Written by on September 4, 2021

A team of archaeologists has found that an ancient Roman fort in the UK was converted into a Nazi bunker during Germany’s occupation of the Channel Islands in World War II.

As part of the Atlantic Wall, between 1940 and 1945 the occupying German forces and the Organisation Todt constructed fortifications around the coasts of the Channel Islands such as this observation tower at Battery Moltke, Jersey (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/MAN VYI)

As part of the Atlantic Wall, between 1940 and 1945 the occupying German forces and the Organisation Todt constructed fortifications around the coasts of the Channel Islands such as this observation tower at Battery Moltke, Jersey

(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/MAN VYI)

A team of archaeologists volunteering for England’s Dig Alderney charity found that the German military fortified an Ancient Roman tower known as the Alderney Nunnery during the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands.

The BBC reported that the Nunnery contains archeological remains from the medieval period as well as the Tudor and Napoleonic eras and has been occupied for nearly two millennia. It was also the site of the only two concentration camps in occupied British territory.

“This is a complex site to understand given that it has been almost continuously occupied for 1,700 years and remodeled by successive occupiers,” Dr. Jason Monaghan, one of the archaeologists leading the dig said, according to the Bailiwick Express. “We do not know if it was ever, in fact, a Nunnery.”

The Roman fort walls were damaged during the late Middle Ages, he pointed out, and that new structures were built during the Tudors’ reign and in the 18th century. The interior of the fortress was demolished by the British Army around 1793, he said, and “around 1906, the buildings were converted for use by military families and the earlier ramparts buried,” according to the Channel Island newspaper.

THE WRITER’S son and family visited the city of Terezin, at one of the security gates in the fortification walls the Nazis used as a ready-made concentration camp. (credit: COURTESY CHARLES TICHO)THE WRITER’S son and family visited the city of Terezin, at one of the security gates in the fortification walls the Nazis used as a ready-made concentration camp. (credit: COURTESY CHARLES TICHO)

During the German occupation, the Nazis fortified the structure with bunkers and artillery-resistant walls and tunnels, according to the BBC.

Smithsonian magazine noted that the Channel Islands was the only British land successfully captured by the Nazis during World War II.

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