Discovered by archaeologists in the Stajnia cave in southern Poland in 2010, recent radiocarbon work has now dated it to around 41,500 years ago from when Homo sapiens were in Europe.
Polish archaeologists working at the site in Luxor in the south of the country came across the 3,500-year-old dump while working on the reconstruction of the Chapel of the Goddess Hathor, which is part of the larger Temple of Hatshepsut complex.
Contained inside, researchers unearthed 285 objects including 194 coins, 21 crosses and medals, 11 buttons, three rings, two coffin handles, 23 ceramic fragments, eight glass fragments, and a piece of a window.
At over 6,000 square metres, the little-known about Underground museum is possibly the largest of its kind on the planet.
To mark the 60th anniversary of one of the most valuable hoards of treasure ever found in Europe, TFN’s Nick Westerby travelled to Toruń to find out more about the stash and where it came from.
Experts are keen to find out how the dark ceramic dish they believe belonged to the South American Chimú culture which existed between the 10th and 15th century until the invasion of the Incas, came to be in a Polish village.
The opening led down 10 metres into an underground cave a few dozen square metres wide with a maximum height of around 140 cm – not enough for most adults to stand in upright.
The Neolithic cemetery in the village of Stara Wieś in Silesia contained the remains of three people who were found lying on their right side with arms bent and curled up and their heads pointing to the East. But Romek Turakiewicz from the Archaeology Department at Raciborz Museum said: “It could be a mass grave and there could be more skeletons.”
By examining the use of 130 examples of ceramic lekanes (a type of low bowl), Dr Bartłomiej Lis of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnology at the Polish Academy of Sciences found that the lekanes were used as handwashing basins – rather than as tableware to eat food from.
Archaeologists closed in on a 20-square-metre site in a cemetery in the small town of Orneta by using local archival records and a hand-drawn burial plan. Religious objects including crucifixes and medallions helped them identify the victims.