Mass burial of children with coins in their mouths found in Poland

Mass burial of children with coins in their mouths found in Poland

Categories: Europe | History

Even in densely populated areas of Europe, the earth hides a lot of archaeological mysteries that sometimes pop up quite unexpectedly. A few days ago, road works near the town of Nisko, in the south-east of Poland, revealed another historical mystery, which archaeologists are now engaged in.

Mass burial of children with coins in their mouths found in Poland

While preparing the track for laying the roadbed, the builders unexpectedly came across a lot of skeletonized human remains. The work was immediately stopped, and the police were called to the site of the discovery. When it turned out that the bones are not related to crime and we are talking about a medieval cemetery, archaeologists from Arkadia were involved.

Experts found that during the excavation work, the cemetery of the 17th century was disturbed, where 115 people were buried. Interestingly, 100 of them are children of different ages, mostly from 6 to 14 years old. All burials are located in sandy soil and are oriented strictly with their heads to the west.

Mass burial of children with coins in their mouths found in Poland

Another interesting point was that in the mouth of each deceased was a coin — the so-called obol Charon. The custom of providing the deceased with money is connected with the legend that the ferryman of souls to the realm of the dead, the boatman Charon, should receive payment for his work. This tradition originated in the ancient period and was practiced in some places in Europe until the end of the 19th century.

Charon's Mzda was mandatory for everyone. Those buried under the city of Nisko were very poor and they were buried in everyday clothes and without coffins. Nevertheless, everyone had a coin.

Mass burial of children with coins in their mouths found in Poland

The coins that were in the mouths of the dead were minted during the reigns of the Polish kings Sigismund III (1587-1632) and Jan II Casimir (1648-1668). Scientists attributed the burials to this period.

Historical sources claim that in 1604 there was a large Catholic church with a cemetery, a rector's house and a church school at the site of the find. Archaeologist Katarzhina Olezhek in an interview with journalists separately noted:

Mass burial of children with coins in their mouths found in Poland

The woman also said that all the bodies found will be exhumed, thoroughly examined and then buried again in accordance with the church rite in the cemetery, where no one will bother them anymore.

A year ago in Peru has found the remains of 227 children who were sacrificed to the gods during the existence of the Indian state of Chimor, more than 1400 years ago.

Keywords: Archeology | Burial | Cemetery | Graves | Coins | Poland | Body parts

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