Buried Memories: Wartime Caches and Family History in Estonia

  • Mats BurströmEmail author
Part of the Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology book series (CGHA, volume 35)


During the Second World War, many Estonians buried family possessions before fleeing overseas. Yet their hopes of returning soon to recover them were dashed by the postwar Soviet occupation. During the long years of exile, these possessions were transformed from everyday objects into a kind of repository for memories. One way for exiles to remember their homeland and sustain their dreams of return was to tell stories. Some managed to retrieve their belongings while in exile, others went back to find them after the fall of the Soviet Union. This chapter examines a selection of stories about underground wartime hoards in order to show how family traditions lend a human dimension to grand narratives of the recent past.


Recent Past Secret Message Family Possession Soviet Period Hiding Place 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The research presented here forms part of the project Artefactual Memories, which is supported by the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies. A full account of the Estonian study may be found in Treasured Memories (Burström 2012).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Archaeology and Classical StudiesStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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