Jewish Heritage Europe

Ukraine: Rohatyn non-invasive survey report published

Photo: Rohatyn Jewish Heritage (screen shot from FB page)

The full report from the  9-day survey using non-invasive, ground-penetrating technology  to locate Holocaust mass graves and killing sites in Rohatyn, Ukraine has been published — the 80-page report is available online.

As we reported at the time, the survey, carried out in May-June 2017, was commissioned by  the volunteer NGO  Rohatyn Jewish Heritage (RJH) as part of its ongoing mass grave memorials project.

Research was carried out at two sites known to be sites of mass graves, and where memorial markers were placed in past decades, but where the precise locations of the graves were lost.

According to RJH, “clear survey results were obtained and supported by supplemental research and site observations by the archaeology team for several important locations at the sites.”

The survey was carried out by archaeologists led by Dr. Caroline Sturdy-Colls from the Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University and formed part of a broader project on Recording Cultural Genocide and Killing Sites in Jewish Cemeteries “that focuses on raising awareness of the causes and consequences of cultural genocide and mass killings (using Jewish cemeteries desecrated by the Nazis as a pilot case study), directly tackling racism, xenophobia and hostility in the present.”

RJH has posted on its web site a detailed summary of the report and its results, with many illustrations — click HERE to read it.

In the summary, RJH states:

The research process conducted by the Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University followed a sequence they have used at other sites of conflict:

  • review and compilation of historical documentation about the killing and burial events (much of which was provided by RJH), including Jewish and other witness and second-hand accounts, modern and historical aerial photos and maps, and other media;

  • interviews and discussions with Rohatyn locals;

  • walkover landscape surveys of each of the target sites;

  • topographic surveys of the sites using GPS and total station theodolite (TST) tools integrated with electronic distance measurement (EDM, or rangefinder);

  • ground penetrating radar (GPR) scanning by passing radar antennas over the ground within the survey areas, measuring signal reflection and attenuation continuously on a tight parallel pattern (typically at 1m intervals) to detect buried human remains and other subsurface features representative of mass graves;

  • post-survey three-dimensional radar data assimilation and analysis, coupled with geographical information system (GIS) tools.


Click here to read a summary of the report, on the Rohatyn Jewish Heritage web site.

Click here to read the PDF of the full 80-page report

Click here to see our JHE report on the survey from June 2017





1 comment on “Ukraine: Rohatyn non-invasive survey report published

  1. FOLLOW-UP: Half a year after completion of the non-invasive survey Rohatyn Jewish Heritage commissioned at Jewish mass graves in Rohatyn, Jay and I met earlier this month with the retired manager of the “vodokanal” facility – site of the north mass graves. In that interview we learned that the manager had personally seen human remains unearthed in the 1980s at two locations at that site, not included in last summer’s survey.
    Here is our report.

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