Mystery of where 17th century diplomat buried is solved after scientists find remains using geo-radar

The remains of Maciej von Krockow brings an end to a centuries-old mystery. PAP/ Public Domain/ Andrzej Ossowski/ Twitter

The tomb of a 17th century diplomat, politician, and lawyer who helped end the Thirty Years’ War has been discovered in the northwest of Poland, bringing to an end a centuries-old mystery.

The remains of Maciej von Krockow, who served Polish, Pomeranian, and Branderbugian rulers and took part in the 1648 Peace of Westphalia negotiations among others, were discovered by scientists in the Co-Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Kołobrzeg, one of the three medieval churches in the city.

The tomb was found buried between church pews in Kołobrzeg.Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Historians had been trying to unravel the mystery of the diplomat's tomb for decades, but only theories to work with rather than facts.

Professor Andrzej Ossowski from the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin’s Forensic Department said: "Today we carried out a geo-radar examination, which confirmed the hypothesis of the remains’ presence in this church’s crypt graves.

Scientists used geo-radar to help located the tomb.Marcin Bielecki/PAP

"The church has been rebuilt and reconstructed, but it looks like it was placed on medieval foundations with minor changes and inside the church there are anomalies typical for the ones we observe in the case of crypt graves.

"Everything indicates that the person we were looking was buried in this place.”

Born in 1600 to an influential family, Krockow first served the Pomeranian duke Bogislaw XIV. He then represented Polish interests and King Władysław IV Vasa during negotiations to end the Thirty Years' War. 

Maciej von Krockow served Polish, Pomeranian, and Branderbugian rulers and took part in the 1648 Peace of Westphalia negotiations which brought an end to the Thirty Years’ War.Marcin Bielecki/PAP

During the talks held in Osnabrück (part of the Peace of Westphalia negotiations), the then Polish representative realized Sweden was trying to deprive the Elector of Brandenburg Frederick William of West Pomerania.

He informed the Branderburgians, thus weakening Sweden and gaining favour in both Polish and Branderburgian court.

The remains were found in the Co-Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Kołobrzeg, one of the three medieval churches in the city.CCO

In 1651, as a result of his diplomatic success, Krockow went on to serve Frederick Wilhelm, representing him at the imperial court of Ferdinand III Habsburg. 

Krockow moved to Kołobrzeg in 1654, where he became head of the local court. For his merits in the diplomatic service he received, among others, the title of the honorary parish priest of the Kołobrzeg collegiate church.

Professor Andrzej Ossowski from the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin’s Forensic Department said: Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Polish King John Casimir, as well as Danish King Frederick III Oldenburg offered him a job in their diplomatic service.

The Duke of Mecklenburg, Christian Louis I, also wanted Krockow to take up the office of his chancellor. He refused and stayed in Kołobrzeg until the end of his life.

Krockow moved to Kołobrzeg in 1654, where he became head of the local court. For his merits in the diplomatic service he received, among others, the title of the honorary parish priest of the Kołobrzeg collegiate church.Collection of the Royal Castle in Warsaw

Krockow died on March 16th, 1675. Since he was a Calvinist, Johann Calberg the Lutheran pastor of the main collegiate church in Kołobrzeg refused to bury him there, despite many voices of protest.

Eventually, the diplomat had his funeral held at the smaller church by the river, where his tomb has now been uncovered.