February 9, 2009 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Bunker Archaeology
posted by homunculus at 8:35 PM on February 9, 2009

Wow - these are amazing. Some of them are surprisingly elaborate, and beautiful, in a terrible, brutal sort of way. I liked the ones that were partially sunken in the sand.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:50 PM on February 9, 2009

Stunning! More info with pictures on the Batterie Todt.
posted by tellurian at 8:56 PM on February 9, 2009

Nice! These look way nicer than the ones in strategy games I've played.
posted by grobstein at 8:57 PM on February 9, 2009

I will marry this bunker.
posted by dr_dank at 9:03 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

On Guernsey. I recall that those bunkers were designed for propaganda purposes.
posted by jouke at 9:07 PM on February 9, 2009

Great structures, mediocre photos. Always worth investigating though!
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:39 PM on February 9, 2009

I have the uncanny feeling that I know these places, and I fear its because I spent hours storming them in some video game. I can take comfort knowing that the animators probably researched the structures intensively. I'm glad these things are being swallowed by the beach.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:08 PM on February 9, 2009

Many years ago I went as a tourist to the beaches of Normandy. I remember walking around, thinking about the D-Day Invasion and the great struggle of World War II and the lives that left the world on that day, shot down by gunfire and cannon. And I came upon an abandoned bunker, overlooking the beach, powerless cannon still facing the sea. And in that bunker, oblivious to historical overtones, several cute little French children played on the cannon, pretending to raise and lower the imaginary dragon, giggling about imaginary "bad guys", laughing at the pretend-severity of their plaything. And I understood for the first time that the tools of war become the toys of joy for the next generation. The bunkers become playhouses. The enemies become silly bogeymen.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:43 PM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

I felt like I have seen most of these structures in Lynch's Dune. I'm expecting a sandworm to appear or the Baron to arise, floating and cackling, from one of their shadowed ports.
posted by adipocere at 12:32 AM on February 10, 2009

They look disturbingly exposed, easy to blow up with a single well-targeted missile or bomb by our new standards of destructiveness in weapons. The modern bunker is a hollowed out civilian home in a rat warren of concrete apartment blocks, protected by the schools and hospitals next door.
posted by surlycat at 12:56 AM on February 10, 2009

“the Atlantic Wall.” Decommissioned after the Allied invasion of Normandy

Decommissioned? You could say that I suppose.
posted by mattoxic at 3:16 AM on February 10, 2009

These are really great. They're so ominous, and at least a few of them look like half-buried stone giants. Or maybe that's just my love of Shadow of the Colossus talking.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 3:39 AM on February 10, 2009

I went camping before at Cape Henlopen State Park , in Delaware, which contains the remains of Fort Miles. They have some cool observation towers still standing, but much of it is half-buried in the sand like in these photos.
My friends and I were exploring the dunes one night when we found this old entrance to part of the underground base. It was a stairwell almost completely covered over in sand, except for a small opening at the top where a concrete ledge held back the dune. I slid through the gap and down the slope about ten feet to a metal door, which was mostly blocked by sand, as well as being welded shut. I had the only flashlight, so I made some banging sounds on the metal door and cranked the rusted handle, called up to my friends that I had opened it and then turned off my light.
After waiting there silently for a few minutes in the dark while my friends called to me and wondered to each other what I might have found, I finally climbed back out and told them all about the rusted tanks, cannons and missiles I had seen inside. I let them freak out for a while before breaking the news.
Maybe you had to be tripping on mushrooms to appreciate it the way we did, but anyway it was sure fun!
posted by orme at 4:16 AM on February 10, 2009

On a trip to Skagen I remember seeing very similar bunkers sinking into the sand. I guess it must have been these ones.

Cool site, looks like you can navigate all up and down the Atlantic wall from here.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:16 AM on February 10, 2009

Nice site. Where do you find this stuff?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 5:22 AM on February 10, 2009

These are good examples of the aesthetic category of the sublime (arousing both fear and attraction), like the monolith in Kubrick's 2001, or the paintings of Rothko- seemingly inpenetrable, other, indifferent, enduring. At one moment we feel affronted or negated by them. But in the next moment we enjoy contemplating what it would feel like to be like them.
posted by leibniz at 5:44 AM on February 10, 2009

Not too far from where I live in Southern California, there are the rusted remains of gun emplacements on the beach. They consist of nothing more than rails for the gun traverse and a concrete center pedestal. The rails, mounted on thick concrete, encircle the pedestal, and are about 10 meters in diameter. The pedestal is maybe a two meter cube. They are being swallowed up by the sea and the sand. Not much to look at, but I always feel an odd sort of reverence when I am there.
posted by Xoebe at 6:26 AM on February 10, 2009

Yes, dr_dank, I too am strangely sexually attracted to this bunker.
posted by nosila at 6:42 AM on February 10, 2009

orme, I thought of the Cape Henlopen towers, too--not properly bunkers, I guess, but way cool.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:16 AM on February 10, 2009

The Frightening Beauty of Bunkers.

Archie or Edith?
posted by jonp72 at 7:24 AM on February 10, 2009

In Agia Galini Crete in the mid 70s American and Australian students turned the abandoned bunkers into cost free hostels, sleeping in the structures and living off the land (read-- stealing food from gardens and orchards. This is where I learned never to eat an olive picked directly off a tree.)

Regarding the title of the set, I think the beauty of these is not in the structures, but in the desolation.
posted by nax at 7:27 AM on February 10, 2009

Great post. Thanks.
posted by MarshallPoe at 10:20 AM on February 10, 2009

On the other hand, I see a solution to our economic stimulus need hidden here.

Let's face it, when a person needs a personal plane, they have run out of things to buy. At the same time, we have a government that needs money badly. I suggest that the US sell rich people our supply of nuclear warheads. They would then need to buy delivery systems which would jump start our manufacturing base since the only thing we sell is military hardware. Because every installation would need security, many former high school athletes could be employed to march around them in relative safety. The only "fly in the ointment" is convincing potential buyers that nukes are rare. Maybe Debeers could help there.

I would actually increase our national defense because a vice president could only get so crazy before someone unscrambled his Googlemap.
posted by Bitter soylent at 8:20 AM on February 11, 2009

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