Archaeological digs will again be conducted until the 8th of September on the left bank of the river in Antwerp in search of the remains of the Top Hat, the repatriation camp that housed U.S. military personnel about to return to the United States at the end of World War II. The excavations are being conducted within the framework of the digging of the new Escaut tunnel at the Oosterweel Junction, scheduled to start next year. They are aimed at ensuring that no valuable historical material is lost because of the works, and that work on the tunnel is not delayed for archaeological reasons.
A preliminary archaeological survey was done on the same site in January last. Many trenches were built, while many bullets and documents confirmed to have come from the camp were discovered. A more extensive investigation will now be conducted until the 8th of September, using an excavator and metal detectors. However, no tree will be dug up and the work must not hamper traffic or walkers.
Between June 1945 and April 1946, Top Hat served as a type of transit camp in which more than 270,000 U.S. military personnel stayed before they could go back home. On leaving, they left a huge amount of material on the site, burying most of the parts.