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The Polish Princess, The Priest and the Treasure

The Polish Princess, The Priest and the Treasure

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A Polish archaeologist come treasure hunter, has followed a series of historical clues leading to the unearthing of an ancient royal treasure trove.

The 900-year-old princess’ treasure was found in a cornfield near the small village of Słuszków, in Kalisz County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, in west-central Poland. And what makes this hoard special is that while the origins of so many similar caches remain unknown, the owner of this one, is known to have been a princess.

Pre-War Rumors Of Gold

This rare 12th century treasure hoard included coins and jewelry belonging to a famous Ruthenian princess, who was the sister-in-law of the medieval Polish ruler , Bolesław the Wrymouth, who commanded over the whole of what is today Poland between 1107 and 1138 AD. A First News article says researchers at the Polish Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, at the Polish Academy of Sciences, call the discovery “extraordinary.” Their reason for choosing this specific word is because of the bizarre circumstances leading up to the discovery.

A pot was found filled with Roman denarii. (Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Polish Academy of Sciences / The First News)

A pot was found filled with Roman denarii. (Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Polish Academy of Sciences / The First News )

A village priest, Father Stachowiak, had heard local legends about a valuable hidden treasure in a local field. When Institute archaeologist, Dr Adam Kędzierski, was taking photos of the site, where in 1935 archaeologists found “Poland 's largest ever coin haul,” the priest shared his stories from pre-war treasure hunters. Dr Kędzierski is an archaeologist, but in this instance the local priest enflamed his imagination and he embarked on what turned out to be a classic treasure hunt.

 

 

Following Whispers Of A Royal Princess Treasure Hoard

The professor says the official narrative claims the treasure was hidden at “the intersection of three plots of land, located in the northern part of the village.” However, when he checked this area it turned out to be a dead end. Notwithstanding, this year, while the rest of us were locked down the researcher followed the clues given to him by Father Stachowiak, and two days later he found the legendary treasure.

The discovery was made by archaeologist Dr Adam Kędzierski from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. (Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Polish Academy of Sciences / The First News)

The discovery was made by archaeologist Dr Adam Kędzierski from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. (Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Polish Academy of Sciences / The First News )

Over 6,500 silver coins placed in linen pouches were found strewn among silver ingots: gold rings and wedding bands . The archaeologist said one pot was “filled to the brim with denarii,” Roman silver coins that were minted from around 211 BC. A Cyrillic inscription on one of the rings was translated to “Lord, may you help your servant Maria,” and this was what identified the hoard as belonging to the Ruthenian “Princess Maria,” sister-in-law of 12-century Polish king Bolesław the Wrymouth. This is why researchers at the Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Polish Academy of Sciences are calling the find “one of the most intriguing treasures in Poland.”

On one of the rings there is a Cyrillic inscription which reads: “Lord, may you help your servant Maria.”  (Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Polish Academy of Sciences / The First News)

On one of the rings there is a Cyrillic inscription which reads: “Lord, may you help your servant Maria.”  (Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Polish Academy of Sciences / The First News )

Calling In The Heavies…

The wife of Bolesław the Wrymouth was a Russian princess named “ Zbysława,” and Maria was her sister, who was married to “ Piotr Włostowic, ” also known as Peter Wlast or Włost, a Polish noble, castellan of Wrocław, and a ruler of part of Silesia. The professor says this means “Maria was the daughter of Svyatoslavovich Isiaslavovich, Prince of Kiev.” After her husband 's abduction of Prince Volodar of Przemyśl, “the coins found may have been part of a dowry that Maria received,” and it’s now clear that she hid it!

Kędzierski added that Maria’s husband's position, and possessions, could have led her to deposit the treasure, and that the wedding ring was perhaps added at a later date. But he also speculates that the deposit might have been made in 1145/1146 AD when the princess is known to have escaped from Poland. And while this hypothesis is unverifiable, it’s “very attractive,” said the researcher, because it explains the presence of coins from before the princess’ marriage.

However the hoard of treasure got to be in that field in Słuszków might always remain locked in history’s chest of the unknowable. But this treasure came as such a surprise, and a threat, that during the excavations local volunteer firemen were employed to guard the site.

Top image: Part of the Princess Maria treasure trove.     Source: Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Polish Academy of Sciences / The First News

By Ashley Cowie

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