Mushroom picking Bartosz Michałowski found the silver coins in a landslip on the banks of the River Słupia near his village of Strzelinko, not far from the northern town of Słupsk.
Formally part of Poland, the 6kg of coins were found in the town of Zbarazh (Zbaraż) which was one of the settings for Henryk Sienkiewicz's classic 1884 novel With Fire and Sword.
The haul bearing the image of King Sigismund III Vasa also includes Prussian shillings struck for Prince George Wilhelm Hohenzollern, who was a fief of the Republic of Poland. It remains a mystery why the coins were placed where they were and why they have remained hidden until today. h century silver coins has been found under the floor of a monastic church.
It remains unclear how the coins came to be buried in an old German cemetery in northwest Poland, but they probably came to the region in the first place as a result of trade between various peoples of Europe and the Arab world.
Hundreds of thousands of silver Roman coins found in the areas inhabited by Goths and Vandals in the beginning of the first century have up until now been considered genuine currency from the Roman empire. But now Warsaw University archaeologists are on the trail of the counterfeit criminals.