Category Archives: POLAND

Evidence of Medieval Battle Discovered in Polish Forest

Evidence of Medieval Battle Discovered in Polish Forest

In a forest in Sanok, hundreds of arrowheads and crossbow bolts from a major battle with King Casimir the Great in the 14th century were found.

Archaeologists unearthed the huge find during an investigation to find out why the area was being plagued by illegal treasure hunters.

Biała Góra archeologists say they believe that they now locate Casimir’s Great campaign battleground in Red Ruthenia (formerly part of southeastern Poland and Ukraine).

Archeologists who were wondering why so many illegal treasure hunters flocked to a peak in Słonne Mountains and part of Sanok’s Wójtostwo district, decided to investigate

The hundreds of arrowheads and crossbow bolts come from the 14th century.

Already well-known for being the site of a medieval settlement, the last time it had been officially researched was 50 years ago.

Dr. Piotr Kotowicz from the Sanok Historical Museum told PAP: “We decided to use the same research method and invited the Galicia Historical and Exploratory Association’s representatives to work with us.

“The results of the research exceeded our wildest expectations. During several seasons, in the area around the fortified settlement, we found more than 200 arrowheads and bolts.”

It is still unclear who fought whom and why, but the archaeologists believe that the objects may be a sign of a 14th century battle between Polish and Ruthenian forces.

According to chronicles, in 1340 Casimir the Great with an army of 20,000 conquered several fortified settlements in the area. Kotowicz is convinced, that the latest findings in Sanok can be linked to that particular military campaign.

Shortly afterward, between 1340 and 1344, Red Ruthenia was incorporated into Poland permanently after the death of duke Bolesław – Jerzy II.

Dr. Kotowicz said: “It seems that the caves and bolts we discovered are a testimony of fights between Ruthenians and Poles.

“The analysis of the caves’ spread shows that most of them were concentrated in the stronghold’s area and right next to it.

“We also searched the area around it for ‘response’ to the attack. However, we did not find too many caves with weapons.

“This means that the defenders were dominated by the invaders and their response to the attack was minimal.”

The fortified settlement on Biała Góra was rather small, surrounded by one line of fortifications and dry moat. According to the recent findings, it was heavily damaged during the battle. The arrowheads and bolts weren’t the only surprises that awaited Dr. Kotowicz’s team.

In the area around the fortified settlement the archaeologists found more than 200 arrowheads and bolts.
In the area around the fortified settlement the archaeologists found more than 200 arrowheads and bolts.

A nearby patch of flattened land hid numerous artifacts of older origins – even from the 9th or 10th centuries. Among them is the first Arabic coin from the Middle Ages, dirham, found in Sanok.

Dr. Kotowicz believes that these are the remains of an industrial settlement, as evidenced by numerous cinders – iron ore was probably melted there.

Medieval “plague” mass grave discovered in north Dublin

Medieval “plague” mass grave discovered in north Dublin

According to an Irish Central report, walkers in North County Dublin spotted bones eroding out of the surface of the ground during a period of drought this spring.

Examination of the bones by osteoarchaeologist Maeve McCormick revealed they belonged to a boy who was about 12 years of age at the time of his death.

The 12-year – old skeletal remains were found in River Valley Park, Swords, North County Dublin in April 2020. The bones that have now been extracted from the test area date back to the 15th century.

The skeletal remains of a 12-year-old, found in Swords, earlier this year are believed to be part of a plague burial ground.

Experts at the National Museum of Ireland said the bones became exposed due to the unseasonably dry weather in March and April. 

Sadly, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the site could not be excavated. However, Fingal County Council told the Irish Times that with the easing of restrictions the examination has begun.

The site where the remains were found by walkers is a recorded archaeological monument, where archaeologists from the National Monuments Service excavated six skeletons in 1999.

They said the bones “were medieval in date and as the burials were deposited in an irregular fashion within a flood plain it was thought they may reflect some form of communal hasty burial of victims of plague or other trauma.”

The excavation was undertaken by Maeve McCormick, of Archer Heritage Planning Ltd, under license from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in consultation with the National Museum.

McCormick, an osteoarchaeologist, indicated that the latest skeleton unearthed was a juvenile, probably between ten and 12 years of age and that these remains are part of a burial site excavated in the area, in 1999.

Radiocarbon dating of the animal and human remains will allow them to get a precise timeline for the site.

Fingal County Council’s Heritage Officer Christine Baker says this analysis will “add to the story of this burial ground”. 

“We are also investigating the most appropriate means to suspend the erosion of the site and will continue to work with the National Monuments Service and the National Museum of Ireland to protect this archaeological monument,” she said.

A hidden hoard of more than 6,000 silver coins found in a forest in Poland

A hidden hoard of more than 6,000 silver coins found in a forest in Poland

This year a forest ranger in eastern central Poland came up with a lifetime discovery — he had found a treasure hidden in a wooded area near the village of Guzów, which included thousands of silver coins.

A hidden hoard of more than 6,000 silver coins found in a forest in Poland

Forest worker Bogusław Szwichtenberg spotted two clay pots along the wooded road in April this year.   A cache of more than 6,000 silver coins was discovered as he opened them. He turned the find over to the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder in Zielona Góra, where conservation experts are now attempting to restore the coins, reports the museum’s Facebook page.

According to Polish news site Science & Scholarship in Poland (PAP), the silver coins have been provisionally dated to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They were recovered in fairly good condition but were tarnished and stuck together in lumps.

The tarnished coins found in clay jars by a forester in Poland.

Barbara Bielinis-Kopeć, the Lubuskie Provincial Conservator of Monuments and specialists in the field of archaeological preservation has pointed out that not all of the coins have yet been cleaned, so dating could change. So far, the oldest coin was minted in 1516, and the newest in 1612.

In total there were 5,370 smaller coins (denarii), and 787 larger ones (Prague groschen).

“For now, they are easily separated, but only at the end of the conservation work we will see if we can separate all of them without damage,” Bielinis-Kopeć told PAP.

Silver coins found in a forest in Poland, as cleaned by archaeological restorers.

The area where the coins were found has been marked as an archaeological study location. The site was hidden by the side of an old road that connected two small towns.

By all measures, the silver coins are an excellent find, and yet other remarkable coin hoards have been discovered in Poland, including what is known as the “Treasure of Głogów”. One of the largest treasure finds in Poland, the famous medieval cache was uncovered in 1987 by locals.

Archaeologists finally counted more than 20,000 silver coins in all, as well as thousands of coin fragments, and seven bars of silver.

The coins dated back to the 11th and 12th centuries. They were thought to have been owned by a wealthy cleric or knight, as Głogów was a vital center for the church and state at the time.

It has been a busy year for archaeology in Poland as researchers have located an 18th-century sex toy in latrines in Gdańsk, a Scythian treasure site at a ceremonial spring, and a huge Roman-era burial site including ‘princely graves’.

Bielinis-Kopeć said of the recent coin find, “This is the greatest discovery of this kind made in today’s province Lubuskie.”

More details are expected to be announced by officials as the coins are restored. The silver treasure is a lucky find that adds to the picture of the early modern era Poland.

Archaeologists uncover Celtic smelting furnace in Poland that pre-dates Jesus

Archaeologists uncover Celtic smelting furnace in Poland that pre-dates Jesus

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of twelve iron smelting furnaces used by the Celts 2,400 years ago.

According to the archaeologists, the find in the village of Warkocz near Strzelin in southwest Poland is the oldest of such furnaces in Poland.

Excavation head Dr. Przemysław Dulęba from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Wrocław said: “The iron smelting furnaces that we discovered in Warkocz most probably come from this earliest phase of their stay in the lands of modern-day Poland.”

The Celts spread across almost all of Europe, north of the Alps, in the mid 1st millennium BC. They reached the areas of modern-day Silesia and Małopolska at the turn of the 4th century BC.

The furnaces were dug deep into the ground, and their interior lined with pugging (an insulating layer containing clay). Only a very small part protruded from the surface of the earth. Inside, single pieces of melted iron and slag were found.

Bird’s eye view of an archaeological excavation, in which a Celtic metallurgical workshop is visible.

Very similar clusters of furnaces, in terms of both form and spatial arrangement, are known from Czechia.

Objects dating back to the 4th century BC found alongside the furnaces, including fragments of ceramic vessels, metal ornaments, and clothing items as well as garment clasps, convinced the archaeologists that they were used by the Celts.

Dr. Dulęba said: ”Interestingly, bloomeries (metallurgical furnaces – PAP) from the Roman period, i.e. a few hundred years later, were single-use installations,” adding that this is proof of the Celts` great proficiency in the field of metallurgy,

For now, researchers have opened only one small archaeological excavation but Dr. Dulęba says he believes there could be more furnaces in the area.

The archaeologists chose the excavation site after using a magnetic method that registers traces of old buildings and structures that were once strongly exposed to high temperatures.

Dr. Dulęba said: ”If expert research in the form of analyses and radiocarbon dating of burnt wood residues from furnaces confirm our assumption, we will be able to state with certainty that this is the first well documented Celt metallurgical workshop in modern-day Poland,” The oldest artefacts found in the settlement come from the second half of the 3rd century BC.

Archaeological excavation with relics of a metallurgical workshop discovered in Warkocz in Lower Silesia. 

The Celts introduced knowledge of the potter`s wheel and advanced iron metallurgy, with shears, axes, cutters, files, and hammers in a similar form being used in Poland until the end of the pre-industrial era at the turn of the 19th century.

The research project was funded by the National Science Centre.

Tooth decay was a major problem for our ancestors 9,000 years ago

Tooth decay was a major problem for our ancestors 9,000 years ago

Archeological research reveals tooth decay is not an entirely modern-day problem. Archeologists at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw (UKSW), Poland, have proposed diets heavy in fruit and honey contributed to poor dental hygiene during the European Mesolithic between 15,000 and 5,000 years ago.

Ancient tooth decay has been linked to the rise of agriculture and the change in lifestyle that brought about. In particular, the advent of processed, wheat-based foods and a more settled life was thought to be big contributors.

The earliest agricultural societies emerged in Poland 7,000 years earlier and, as a result, the archaeologists were surprised to find a form of tooth decay known as carious lesions (caries) was already an issue thousands of years earlier among hunter-gatherer communities.

Such people mainly eat vegetables, nuts, berries, as well as hunted prey including fish. Mesolithic teeth and jaws unearthed in northeast Poland show cavities were present among adults and children alike

Researchers have found evidence of tooth decay among Mesolithic people

Professor Jacek Tomczyk from UKSW told the Polish Press Agency (PAP): “We detected caries on the teeth of a three-year-old child and two adults.”

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth coating teeth in a film known as dental plaque. Foods high in carbohydrates and sugars help the bacteria turn the plaque and carbohydrates into energy, producing acid in the process.

The acid can break down the surface of teeth, creating small holes or cavities. We detected caries on the teeth of a three-year-old child and two adult professor Jacek Tomczyk, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw

Professor Tomczyk said: “For our analysis, we used a fluorescent camera and various X-ray imaging methods.

“This way we detected caries that were not a great loss of enamel.”

Thanks to carbon and nitrogen dating, the researchers were able to learn what these ancient people ate. Their hunter-gatherer diets were rich in various freshwater fish. Surprisingly, eating fish may have been critical in preventing the teeth from decaying any further.

Jaw and teeth of a 3-year-old child discovered in Pierkunowo-Giżycko. Dental material of a child (3-year-old)

Professor Krzysztof Szostek, a UKSW anthropologist, said: “To a large extent, they consumed fish, probably sturgeons.

“Freshwater fish contain arginine, which has anti-cavity properties.

“This substance is even added to some toothpaste.

“So it looks like it was thanks to their diet the caries did not develop any further.”

The findings were presented in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. In their study, the archaeologists wrote: “Based on the data presented, it can be concluded that the diet of the test individuals was probably based largely on freshwater fish.

“This hypothesis is all the more likely because the remains of the studied individuals were excavated from post-glacial lakes within a short distance from Lake Kisajno in Masuria.

“This type of diet does not generate caries.

“The diet definitely included plant foods, including forest plants, as well as mushrooms, which have a higher carbon content than grass.”

Massive Polish Fort Walls Over 100 Feet Wide Indicate Medieval Capital

Massive Polish Fort Walls Over 100 Feet Wide Indicate Medieval Capital

The finding of three rings of fortified walls gave archeologists startling new information about Poland’s Middle Ages.

Polish fortress walls can be seen in this 1617 illustration of Poznań.

The finding of the enormous Polish fortress walls suggests that Poznan be the very first Polish capital and the people had taken full steps to protect this tactical center.

The Enormous Polish Fort Walls Can’t Stop Development

The walls determined 40 meters (13123 ft.) large and 12 meters (3937 ft.) high, which, according to The First News, indicates that these stronghold walls are “the biggest of their kind in Poland.”

They were constructed of a mix of sand, stone, and wood and would have been an enforcing view when they happily stood surrounding and safeguarding the city from its opponents over a thousand years earlier.

The archaeologists utilized photogrammetry and dendrochronology strategies to date the huge Polish prepared city walls and identified that they were constructed in between 968 and 1000.

Archaeologists found the Polish fortress’s ruins 7 meters (2297 ft.) underground while they were checking out the website which is set to be an apartment building.

The structure designer’s site states that the historical work is total and the building of the homes continues “on schedule.”

The Polish fort’s walls are made from wood, stone, and are “the biggest of their kind in Poland.”

The Indication of an Early-Medieval Capital City

Archaeology reports that the brand-new info indicates that Poznań takes over from neighboring Gniezno as the area of the nation’s very first capital city. As the chief archaeologist at the website, Antoni Smoliński, stated:

” Previously, our companied believe that Poznań was a settlement of secondary significance. Nevertheless, offered the discovery of the huge defences, this declaration is extremely doubtful.

The Early-Medieval city was, certainly, a tactical centre and the post-christening capital of Mieszko I’s Poland.”

mural in Gniezno commemorating the baptism of Mieszko I of Poland.

Poznań and St. Peter’s Sword

A previous Ancient Origins post likewise names Poznań as the house of St. Peter’s sword, mentioning that:

“During the reign of Mieszko I (ca. 960 – 992 AD), Christianity was adopted as the religion of the state. To commemorate the conversion of Poland, Pope John XIII decided to give the Sword of St. Peter as a gift, either to Mieszko I, or to Bishop Jordan, the first Bishop of Poland.

Mieszko’s center of power was in Poznan, whilst the bishop is believed to have had his seat in the same city, hence the Sword of St. Peter ended up there, regardless of whether it was the duke or the bishop who received the papal gift.”

Peter using his sword to strike Malchus (circa 1520, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon).

Bible stories state St. Peter utilized the sword to trim the best ear of among the high priest’s servants on the night prior to Jesus’s crucifixion. It now sits with gold and silver spiritual antiques in the city’s Archdiocesan Museum.

16th-Century Cemetery in Poland Yields Children’s Remains

Mass 16th-century grave reveals grim remains of over 100 children with coins in their mouths

In Southeast Poland the bodies of more than 100 children were found, some with coins in their mouths. It verified the local legends of the child’s graveyard.

Archeologists revealed a total of 115 bodies following the discovery of human bones by construction workers during work on the S19 road in Jeżowe, Nizko in Podkarpackie province.

As reported, the National Roads and Motorways Directorate-General said: ‘ Around 70 – 80% of all burial sites, based on archeological discoveries to date, are infants.

The remains were uncovered by archaeologists after construction workers discovered human bones during roadworks.

When archaeologists looked more closely at the bodies they were amazed to find some of them had coins placed in their mouths.

Katarzyna Oleszek, an archaeologist working at the site, said: “It’s certainly a sign of their beliefs. The coins are called obols of the dead or Charon’s obol. It is an old, pre-Christian tradition. But it’s been cultivated for a long time, even as late as the nineteenth century, it was practiced by Pope Pius IX.”

Charon’s obol is a term for a coin placed in the mouth of a dead person before burial. The tradition goes back to ancient Greece and Rome. The coin was a payment or bribe for Charon, the ferryman who conveyed souls across the river that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead.

The bodies found in Jeżowe do not date that far back, however. The coins found were minted in the time of Sigismund III Vasa, who was the king of Poland from 1587 to 1632. Also found were coins known as boratynki, which date from the reign of John II Casimir from 1648 to 1668.

The find confirms archaeologists’ theories and the speculations of locals that children were buried in a cemetery in an area known as the Church Mountains.

Apart from the coins, no other items were found in the graves. There were no buttons, nails, or coffin handles, which Oleszek says suggests that the community that buried them was very poor.

The area is now forested and there are no grave markers. Only a small chapel offers any sign of the former church.

Oleszek said: “The arrangement of the skeletons, the state of their preservation, shows that the discovery is a Catholic church cemetery, which was certainly taken care of. No grave is damaged by another. The inhabitants knew exactly where they had graves and took care of them.”

Oleszek said, “We know from sources that during a visit of the bishops of Kraków here in Jeżowe 1604 there was already a large parish church, with a garden, a rectory, a school, and a cemetery. It probably existed already since 1590.”

The bodies were found in sandy ground and were arranged on an east-west axis, all with heads to the west on their backs with the hands at their sides. The graves are most likely those from the children’s section of the graveyard.

One grave contains the bodies of four children. They lay in close formation but not on top of each other. All their heads are resting to one side in the same direction. The fourth child, on the edge of the group, is much younger than the others. 

“The arrangement of the skeletons, the state of their preservation, shows that the discovery is a Catholic church cemetery, which was certainly taken care of. No grave is damaged by another. The inhabitants knew exactly where they had graves and took care of them,” said Oleszek.

The bodies will be exhumed and after being studied by anthropologists they will be passed to the local parish church and buried again in the local cemetery.

Most of the bodies were buried in individual graves and the original order and layout of the graves will be preserved. The group of four children will again be buried together. 

The bodies were discovered during work on a section of the S19 motorway, which is part of the Via Carpatia project that will link the Baltic states with south-eastern Europe.

In Poland, the route runs through Podlasie, Mazovia, Lublin, and Podkarpacie and is set to be over 700 km long.

Inside an ancient Polish salt mine that has underground lakes, fully carved chapels, and chandeliers made of salt

Inside an ancient Polish salt mine that has underground lakes, fully carved chapels, and chandeliers made of salt.

This Polish mine has fascinated millions of visitors, from the underground pools to an impressive carved chapel and is made entirely of salt

The Salt Mines of Wieliczka is located in the vicinity of Krakow and are on UNESCO World Heritage List since its construction in the 13th century, it has been explored by 45 million tourists.

Sitting on everyone’s kitchen counter is the kitchen staple so basic it’s borderline boring. And as I write, I’m already thinking of salt more than I have in this past year combined.

But the Wieliczka salt mine, near Krakow, Poland proves that salt can be a masterpiece on its own. The mine was first opened in the 13th century, and today, it’s a part of the First UNESCO World Heritage List.

For a reason! The salt mine, which reaches -1072 ft at its deepest point, features underground lakes, 2,000 chambers, and chapels equipped with enormous chandeliers. And if that wasn’t enough, every little thing is made of salt. The mine is so unreal, it brings to mind a level in Tomb Raider, rather than a place thanks to which I season my dinner.

Tourists visit The Saint Kinga’s Chapel in the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

The history of Wieliczka salt mine dates back to the Middle Ages when it used to be called the Magnum Sal, or the Great Salt. In the 13th century, it was the largest source of salt in the country, which was crucial to the country’s economy. Today, it’s one of the main tourist attractions in Poland.

Daily email contacted Aleksandra Sieradzka from the marketing and communications department at the Wieliczka Salt Mine to find out more about this breathtaking place.

Aleksandra told us that all the 2000 chambers in the mine are carved of salt. “The corridors and even the floor are made of salt.”

There two chapels of St. Kinga and St. Anthony that are both made entirely of salt, including the altars and the statues of saints that were carved by the sculptor miners. “The chandeliers also contain crystal salt—the purest type of salt.”

Salt may seem like a fragile and delicate material, but it has a hardness similar to that of gypsum. “The processing of salt itself is not difficult; however, in order to professionally carve in salt, one needs to have a lot of experience with this material,” explained Aleksandra.

“Every block of salt is different—it differs not only in size or hardness but also in color, which can be used in an interesting way in the act of creation.”

Aleksandra confirmed that, if you’re lucky, you can pop into a party or two at the Mine. “That is true, there are a couple of chambers where you can have a party. One big ballroom (Warszawa Chamber) and a few smaller ones. The Mine is famous for its New Year’s concerts that take place during the first weekend of January.”

We can only imagine how enormous the whole underground structure is because only 2% of it is accessible to tourists. Meanwhile, the salt mine corridors form an actual labyrinth that stretches up to a whopping 498 ft in length. There are 9 levels in total and the lowest one is located at 1072 ft below ground.

But Wieliczka is only the fifth-biggest salt mine out there. Ontario is home to the biggest one in the world, which is located 1800 ft under Lake Huron.

Compass Minerals’ Goderich salt mine is as deep as the CN Tower in Toronto is tall. The second-biggest is Khewra Salt Mines in Pakistan, and the third-place belongs to Prahova Salt Mine in Romania.