This post deals with burial density in two graves from the 30 years war, one at Wittstock and one at Lützen.
The Wittstock grave dates to 1636, and measures 6*3.5 meters [21 square meters]. It contains 88 complete bodies, as well as numerous individual bones. The team working on the site concluded that originally 125 bodies were buried there, although it is unclear how they deduced that the individual bones derive from bodies that were originally buried whole in this grave, rather than from bodies that were fragmented before burial. Nevertheless, we will assume that 125 bodies were originally buried at the site. This gives us a burial density of just under 6 bodies per square meter (5.95, to be precise). As usual, this is consistent with what we know about real graves, and inconsistent with the claims for the Reinhardt graves. An article on the grave (linked below) estimates an original depth of 1.6 to 1.7 meters. Using the lower figure we obtain a volumetric burial density of 3.72 bodies per cubic meter.
An article on the grave (pp. 4-9):
The Lützen grave dates to 1632. A 6*7 meter area was removed from the site and divided into two pieces. Initial press announcements claimed that it contained at least 75 bodies, and speculated on up to 175 bodies, however the actual total was 47. Further, the dimensions determined for the grave were 4.5*3.2 meters. (See pdf’s linked here.) Press reports continue to use the dimensions 6*7 meters and 1.1 meter deep for the removed block (depth evidently not including overburden, and not usable for calculations of volumetric burial density on either a body mass or an excavated material basis).
The burial density is [47 / (4.5*3.2) =] 3.26 bodies per square meter of grave.
A further point, which digresses somewhat from the 30 years war graves but is vital for the issue of holocaust graves: in the case of the Lützen grave, initial estimates of the number of buried bodies turned out to be exaggerations. This occurrence (which also happened in the case of a number of Balkans mass graves, incidentally) illustrates why it’s essential to actually do a complete excavation. While archaeologists doing “holocaust archaeology” often attempt to insinuate that they can learn enough about a mass grave with noninvasive methods, or with core samples, archaeologists doing real archaeology know that you need to excavate a grave comprehensively to be able to give accurate information on the number of bodies (or quantity of cremated remains) it contains. See, for instance, the following figure and caption from the book “Forensic Archaeology: Advances in Theory and Practice” makes precisely this point:
Fortunately, archaeologists at Sobibor have been doing some excavations, which while too limited do offer us a glimpse at the truth. There have been trenches dug in graves 1 and 2, and some photos provided from these diggings. What did these two alleged mass graves for tens of thousands of bodies contain? Well… not much.
Compare that to the above photos of a much smaller mass grave, or to the remains of a single on-farm pyre cremation:
An article from last year acknowledged these negative findings and attempted to evade their implications. The final paragraph reads:
Teraz archeolodzy będą dokładnie badać odnalezione wcześniej miejsca grobów masowych. W niektórych nie było jednak kości. Specjaliści podejrzewają, że Niemcy, metodycznie zacierając ślady mordów, zebrali spalone szczątki zagazowanych i wywieźli je w nieznane miejsce.
Now the archaeologists will precisely examine the area of the previously discovered mass graves. In some of them there were not any bones. Specialists suspect that the Germans, methodically obliterating the traces of murder, gathered the burned remains of the gassed [people] and took them to an unknown location.
In other words, the Sobibor team is preparing the ground for an announcement that contrary to previous belief, the remains of the alleged 250,000 (the number varying from 150,000 to 350,000 depending on whom you ask) Sobibor dead are not to be found in the camp. The claim that they were removed “to an unknown location” is certainly a nice way of protecting extermination claims from falsification, but leaves the archaeological team making an embarrassingly transparent “the dog ate my homework” type of argument.