Archaeology of The Teufelsberg : Exploring Western Electronic Intelligence Gathering in Cold War Berlin book cover
1st Edition

Archaeology of The Teufelsberg
Exploring Western Electronic Intelligence Gathering in Cold War Berlin

ISBN 9781138337107
Published March 25, 2019 by Routledge
162 Pages - 123 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

For over 50 years, the white radomes of the Teufelsberg have been one of Berlin’s most prominent landmarks. For half of this time the city lay over 100 miles behind an 'Iron Curtain' that divided East from West, and was surrounded by communist East Germany and the densest concentration of Warsaw Pact military forces in Europe. From the vantage point high on the Teufelsberg, British and American personnel constantly monitored the electronic emissions from the surrounding military forces, as well as high-level political intelligence. Today, the Teufelsberg stands as a contemporary and spectacular ruin, representing a significant relic of a lost cyber space of Cold War electronic emissions and espionage. Based on archaeological fieldwork and recently declassified documents, this book presents a new history of the Teufelsberg and other Western intelligence gathering sites in Berlin. At a time when intelligence gathering is once more under close scrutiny, when questions are being asked about the intelligence relationship between the United States and Russia, and amidst wider debate about the US’s National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence programmes, sites like the Teufelsberg raise questions that appear both important and timely.

Table of Contents

List of Contents



List of Figures




Chapter 1

Introduction: Berlin becomes the Cold War espionage capital


Chapter 2

Electronic intelligence gathering: Beginnings

Intelligence terminology

The British

RAF 26 Signals Unit

Hangar 4 RAF Gatow

Radar intelligence

British army units

Brian Pachett

Rocking Horse - Training for war

The Americans

Block 87 or Inscom Site 4 - inset box

The French

Liaison missions

The watched watch the watchers

From Context to the Site Itself


Chapter 3

The Teufelsberg, History and Context


The city and the mound

Construction phases


Late 1960s to early 1970s


American presence

United States units based at the Teufelsberg

Principal United States Air Force electronic surveillance units in Berlin

British presence

RAF signals units at RAF Gatow

Technical equipment used at RAF Gatow and the Teufelsberg



Chapter 4

Archaeological Investigation: Methods and Approaches

Archaeologies of the Cold War

Field methods



Chapter 5

Site description

Site layout

The main gate

The eastern compound

The operational facilities – security and entry control

1437A Communications building

1469 Document destruction building

1498 Bar

1425 The Artic tower

1465 Jambalaya tower

1455 The British building, Building M

1475 Teufelsberg II, Building U

The upper British floor

The lower United States floor

1458 Main operations building

1453 Dining Facility



Chapter 6

Architectural Summary and Overview


Technical equipment



Chapter 7




The Future



Primary sources

Secondary sources

Cartographic sources

Web sources

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Wayne D Cocroft is an archaeologist and manager of Historic England’s Historic Places Investigation Team East based in Cambridge. For over 25 years he has specialised in the investigation and assessment of former military sites, including explosives factories and Cold War research and development establishments. His published works include Dangerous Energy: the archaeology of gunpowder and military explosives manufacture, and he has also co-authored Cold War: building for nuclear confrontation 19461989, War Art murals and graffiti – military life, power and subversion. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.

John Schofield was, until recently, Head of the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, where he is also Director of Studies in Cultural Heritage Management, having previously worked for English Heritage. John is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and a Docent in Cultural Heritage, Landscape and Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Turku (Finland). He is also Senior Research Fellow at Flinders University, Adelaide, and an Adjunct Professor at Griffith University, both in Australia. He has published extensively in the fields of cultural heritage, archaeology of the recent and contemporary pasts, and the archaeology of conflict. As a child, John lived in Berlin (1971–1973) where his father was Officer Commanding 26 Signals Unit, based both at RAF Gatow and at the Teufelsberg.


"Through this detailed archaeological investigation of Teufelsberg, one of the most iconic sites of the Cold War, many of its well kept secrets are revealed. The material remains bear witness not only to the facilities housing the cutting-edge technology of a past era, but also give a glimpse of the everyday life of the many men and women that served there. This innovative study clearly shows the potential of contemporary archaeology to uncover hitherto unknown aspects of the recent past and may serve as a blue-print for future studies of secret installations."

Mats Burström, Stockholm University


"An engagingly written and well-illustrated study of an iconic site of twentieth century conflict heritage, and a valuable contribution to the rich literature on the ruins, relics and remains of Berlin. It will be of interest and value to heritage professionals, scholars of espionage and the Cold War, and urban explorers and others fascinated by the material traces of the recent past."

Dr Gabriel Moshenska, UCL Institute of Archaeology


"Visible from afar, the white radomes of the Teufelsberg have always marked the most intriguing Cold War site in Berlin. This book lifts the veil of secrecy that shrouded this installation for decades, takes the reader back in time to the direct confrontation between the West and the East that characterised Berlin, and discusses the many layers of cultural significance embodied in the place."

Professor Leo Schmidt, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus

"The authors have, however, instituted an archaeological investigation of this one-layered site where, for example, floor markings would indicate the possible types of equipment in use in particular rooms. Despite the vandalism the site remains substantially intact and can be ‘read’. Something of a detective story, a fascinating study of an unusual military monument in a dangerous time and in an ultra-sensitive situation."

Bernard Lowry, Casemate