Wednesday, 28 Feb 2024

Ancient goth cemetery found in Poland containing silver jewellery

Archaeologists in Poland have unearthed a massive Gothic cemetery containing silver jewellery dating back to the fourth century.

Olaf Popkiewicz, an archaeology video content creator on YouTube, made the discovery.

Strolling along the banks of the Wda River, Mr Popkiewicz spotted a glint of silver jewellery – two silver necklaces, a pair of delicate silver fibulae, or brooches, and a scattering of beads belonging to a third necklace.

He notified a team of park archaeologists who excavated the site, which sits within the protected Wda landscape park in central-northern Poland.

‘In three weeks, we managed to explore over 250 square metres [2,700 square feet] of the cemetery and discover 50 Gothic graves,’ park representatives wrote in a translated Facebook post.

Buried alongside the dead, archaeologists found a collection of grave goods, including pottery, brooches, amber beads and more jewellery decorated with snake motifs.

Researchers believe the area they have excavated is barely a fraction of the ancient burial site, estimated to span 2.5 acres (1 hectare).

‘This is probably only the beginning of our adventure,’ said the post.

The Goths were a Germanic people who originated in southern Scandinavia. They migrated to Central Europe in the 3rd century AD, and eventually settled in Poland in the 5th century.

The Goths were divided into two main groups: the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. The Ostrogoths settled in Poland in the 5th century and ruled the region for several decades. The Visigoths, on the other hand, migrated to Spain in the 5th century.

The newly excavated site revealed buried remains in pit graves and cremations in urn burials. This suggests that the Goths practised both inhumation and cremation, a common practice among Germanic tribes.

In 2020, archaeologists discovered a Goth burial ground in the village of Weklice, also in northern Poland, holding hundreds of silver ornaments that ‘were made of a very high-quality metal, the fineness of which even exceeded the composition of currently produced jewellery,’ Natuniewicz-Sekuła told the news website Science in Poland.

The quality of the jewellery — including bracelets, clasps and outfit decorations — was as high as ornaments from the Roman Empire, she added.

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