Disappearance and rediscovery: Archaeology and commemoration of Great War in Carpathian mountains



Year of publication 2023
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
Description In the winter of 1914/15, the fights of the First World War reached the borders of the Kingdom of Hungary on the current Polish-Slovak-Ukrainian frontiers. The Russian army was prevented from entering Pannonia only by the divisions of the Austro-Hungarian and German armies on the ridges of the Carpathian mountains. This region witnessed fierce clashes of thousands soldiers in an inhospitable environment, but subsequent events overshadowed it. The empires fighting here soon disappeared and the successor states were not interested in commemorating the events, except for the parts where their nation was mentioned. The situation in the described area was additionally complicated by the events related to the Second World War, and by the ethnic cleansing and the displacement of people considered foreign by communist Poland. The memory of places associated with the commemoration of the Great War has gone with them. Graves and cemeteries were neglected. Communist governments had no need to remind the struggle against the Russians. Since the 1990s, the region became the target of raids by treasure hunters with metal detectors, but also of interest for a new generation who wanted to know the history of their country and ancestors. The purpose of our work will be to present the difficult and confusing history that led to the disappearance not only of the remnants of war and cemeteries established after the battles of the Great War, but also of the entire cultural heritage of the Carpathians, as well as attempts to restore the memory of the former inhabitants of the region and soldiers who lost their lives over 100 years ago in often fratricidal battles waged in this beautiful mountain scenery. An important element of the speech will be the presentation of excavations and social activities aimed at restoring memory.
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