Lists of awesome history projects include science fair volcanoes with accurate representation of Pompeii added, verbatim delivery of the Gettysburg address while dressed as a shorter Abraham Lincoln, and collections of whatever arrowhead-ish rocks that can be dug from the backyard.
But one-uppers be one-upping, and a kid in Denmark just blew everyone else out of the water with his discovery of an actual lost Messerschmitt Bf 109 and pilot that he and his father dug out of the family farm.
Daniel Kristiansen was assigned a history project and his father, Klaus, jokingly suggested that they go look for the crashed fighter plane on the property, a reference to an old story the child’s grandfather told. As the story went, a German pilot in training crashed on the family farm during a flight in 1944 and was lost in the woods.
The family had figured the story was probably a tall-tale but decided it might be worth a quick look for the history project. The father-son team went out with shovels, meaning they probably thought they would recover some small parts if they found anything at all.
They used a metal detector to find the site and tried to find artifacts but were unable to recover anything working with the shovels. So they borrowed an excavator from the neighbor and hit paydirt at a depth of approximately 12 feet.
The BBC had an interview with the father:
“In the first moment it was not a plane,” Mr Kristiansen told the BBC. “It was maybe 2,000 – 5,000 pieces of a plane. And we found a motor…then suddenly we found parts of bones, and parts from [the pilot’s] clothes.
“And then we found some personal things: books, a wallet with money…either it was a little Bible or it was Mein Kampf — a book in his pocket. We didn’t touch it, we just put it in some bags. A museum is now taking care of it. I think there’s a lot of information in those papers.”
That’s right, they found sections of the plane and pilot which were originally lost 70 years ago.
Of course, once it was confirmed that a crash, including the remains of a pilot and a bunch of fighter plane ammunition that might be unstable, the police took over the crash site.
Forensic experts are attempting to identify the pilot and return him to Germany for a military funeral.