Treasure found in northern Poland will be put on display

The treasure found in January under the floor of the Saint Martin and Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Bydgoszcz (northern Poland) will be put on show at a museum in the city next week.

The treasure, comprising some 800 old coins and pieces of jewellery, was unearthed on January 2 during archaeological work prior to the replacement of the floor in the cathedral's presbytery.

Prelate Stanislaw Kotowski, who runs the cathedral parish, said it had been "a delight, but also an obligation" to find the trove.

"I am certain that the cathedral hides more secrets," he added.

Now, next Tuesday, the newly-found valuables will be put on display in the European Money Centre (ECP), part of the Bydgoszcz District Museum.

"We will show the find in its entirity, over 800 items in total," the museum's director, Doctor Michal F. Wozniak said. "From the very beginning, our aim was to display the treasure as we had found it," he added.

Only a small number of the valuables has already undergone restoration work through modern techniques, such as laser cleaning.

As Doctor Wozniak said, some of the gold coins remain in perfect condition but the jewellery items, which contain copper, are somewhat corroded.

The treasure was deposited in the Bydgoszcz Museum by the provincial conservator-restorer. Director Wozniak said the institution possesses the necessary expertise and contacts to oversee the scientific analysis and conservation of the valuables.

The find is made up of some 800 items, including over 480 coins. They range from a ducat from the city of Hamburg, issued in 1497, to ducats from 1652. This latter date suggests they may have been hidden from Swedish forces, which invaded Poland at the time.

Mostly the coins originate from the Netherlands, but there are also Austrian, German, Danish and English ones. In addition, the treasure includes jewellery, from decorative hat decorations to enamelled and stone-encrusted rings.

As the Bydgoszcz Museum's numismatics specialist, Jaroslaw Kozlowski, noted, the treasure is similar in composition to the collection found in the city of Kosice (in today's Slovakia) in 1935, although it is more modest.

Following the treasure's unveiling next Tuesday, the Bydgoszcz Museum will apply to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage for funds to organise a fully-fledged exposition in late 2018.