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.
The haul of weapons dating back to WWII was found in woods near the border with Germany by members of the Perkun Exploration Association after the man on the bike told them his grandfather had buried them nearby.
The coins date from between 1657 and 1667, pointing to their minting shortly after the Deluge, a series of wars with Sweden throughout the 17th century which wreaked havoc and destruction throughout the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.