Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!
WWII Resurfaces Volume 56 Number 6, November/December 2003
by Jason Urbanus

Last summer's massive European heat wave and persistent drought caused the Danube to fall to its lowest levels in centuries, revealing a previously submerged WWII past. In Batina, Croatia, scene of a pivotal battle between the Soviet army and retreating Germans in 1944, vehicles have surfaced from the river's murky bottom. Smaller artifacts such as rifles and ammunition were also pulled from the riverbed by local residents, along with a German military jeep clearly identified by its Volkswagen insignia and swastikas painted on gas cans.

Farther down the shrinking river, near Prahovo, Serbia, the main channel has been temporarily blocked by a twisted mass of German hardware. Experts estimated that as many as 250 vessels believed to have belonged to Germany's Black Sea Fleet may have been purposely sunk in this area to impede the Soviet advance. Authorities warned river traffic of the obvious danger and even suspended some service because of the threat of unexploded ammunition.

© 2003 by the Archaeological Institute of America