At least 900,000 Jews died in Treblinka and a memorial was built over the massive extermination site. Out of respect for the victims, no excavations were allowed in the camp.
Forensic archeologist Caroline Sturdy Colls was given permission from Polish authorities and Jewish religious leaders to carry out the first ever excavation of what was, according to witnesses, the death camp - Treblinka 2 - as a part of a documentary that aired on Saturday on the Smithsonian Channel.
During the excavation, Dutch archeologist Ivar Schute unveiled fragments of four tiles in different colors stamped with the Star of David, one of them almost completely intact.
The Star of David-stamped tiles were a part of the Nazis' deceit, used to lull the victims into compliance and making them believe they were entering a real bathhouse.
The camp has been completely destroyed by the Nazis in 1944 when they were fleeing the approaching Soviet forces. Nazi troops destroyed some of the surrounding Polish villages along with the most direct evidence of the genocide that occurred on those grounds. 761 buildings were burnt to the ground, and many people were killed in the process.
By the time the Soviet army reached the area, the land that once housed the Nazi killing machine had been leveled, plowed over and planted with lupins.
So far, all knowledge of the camp came from testimonies of Holocaust survivors who've been to the camp, Nazi confessions and a handful of documents.
These Holocaust survivors described tiles that looked just like the ones founds, on the walls of the gas chambers.
In Treblinka 1, Strudy Colls and her team found human bones, leading them to uncover three previously unknown mass graves, and leading to the conclusion Treblinka 1 was more than just a forced-labor camp as previously thought.
The bones had cut marks that are consistent with survivors' testimonies that bodies were chopped up before being buried, Strudy Colls said.
Realizing what they had found, the archeologists decided to rebury the bones.
"What we were doing there was closing the lid again on that grave site. ... It didn't cross my mind that it would be me reinterring the remains," NBC News quoted Strudy Colls as saying.
Archeologists developed computerized maps of the site using aerial photography, GPS technology, ground-penetrating radar, and a laser-scanning technology, all of which helped them determine where to dig, according to Strudy Colls, who noted she did not wish to disturb the victims still buried in the site more than necessary.
"The ethical dimension of the work that I do is really important to me," she said.
Sturdy Colls explained archeology was now more important than ever, as more and more Holocaust survivors pass away and the knowledge of what happened in Treblinka dies with them.
"There are some questions that can only be answered by archaeology," she said.
Strudy Colls intends to return to Treblinka for further excavations next year, and says she intends to collect her findings into a book and an exhibit in the future.