Having been first decapitated, the skulls in Gliwice had been placed between the victims’ legs leading some to speculate that they had belonged to people suspected of being vampires.
Initially believed to have been an example of a woolly rhinoceros, closer inspection by experts from the University of Wrocław revealed it was a specimen of the much rarer Stephanorhinus or Merck’s rhinoceros. The palaeontologists came to the rescue after the builders, saying they were going to dump the bones, went to watch a football match.
Archaeologists working at the Tunel Wielki cave in the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland in southeast Poland, say the girl with a chaffinch head in her mouth had come over with an army of invaders during the 1655 Swedish Deluge, a mid-17th century invasion and occupation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
A specialist team of body searchers from the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) made the find in a forested area in the city’s Białołęka district following a tip off from an elderly resident who recalled seeing German troops herding people into the area.
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 75 victims buried today, which include three infants, were discovered during archaeological work carried out earlier this year by a special section of Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance.
Professor Marta Osypińska, a zooarchaeologist from the Polish Academy of Sciences, described the find as ‘unique’, saying: “Until now, no one has found Indian monkeys at archaeological sites in Africa. Interestingly, even ancient written sources don’t mention this practice.”
Among the remains researchers from the POMOST Historical and Archaeological Research Laboratory discovered weapons, tools, soldiers’ dog tags and medals identifying them as a paratrooper unit attached to Hitler’s Luftwaffe.
Researchers from the Institute of National Remembrance’s Search and Identification Bureau will now use DNA samples to try and determine if the remains found at the prison belong to Pilecki who was executed at the prison in 1948.
The skeletons with coins dating back to the reign of kings Sigismund III Vasa and John II Casimir were discovered in an area in southeast Poland known as the Church Mountains (Góry Kościelne) and confirm local legends of a children’s graveyard.