Hidden hoard of more than 6,000 silver coins found in forest in Poland

A forest ranger in east central Poland stumbled upon the find of a lifetime this year—he discovered a hidden treasure of thousands of silver coins in a wooded area near the village of Guzów. Two clay pots were spotted by forestry worker Bogusław Szwichtenberg by the side of a wooded road in April of this year.  When he opened them a hoard of more than 6,000 silver coins was revealed. He turned the find over to the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder in Zielona Góra, where conservation experts are now attempting to restore the coins, reports the museum’s Facebook page

According to Polish news site Science & Scholarship in Poland (PAP), the silver coins have been provisionally dated to the sixteenth and seventeenth century. They were recovered in fairly good condition, but were tarnished and stuck together in lumps.

Treasure: The tarnished coins found in clay jars by a forester in Poland. Credit: Muzeum Archeologiczne Środkowego Nadodrza.
Barbara Bielinis-Kopeć, the Lubuskie Provincial Conservator of Monuments and specialist in the field of archaeological preservation has pointed out that not all of the coins have yet been cleaned, so dating could change. So far, the oldest coin was minted in 1516, and the newest in 1612. In total there were 5,370 smaller coins (denarii), and 787 larger ones (Prague groschen). “For now, they are easily separated, but only at the end of the conservation work we will see if we can separate all of them without damage,” Bielinis-Kopeć told PAP. 
Silver coins found in a forest in Poland, as cleaned by archaeological restorers. Credit: Muzeum Archeologiczne Środkowego Nadodrza.
The area where the coins were found has been marked as an archaeological study location. The site was hidden by the side of an old road which connected two small towns. By all measures the silver coins are an excellent find, and yet other remarkable coin hoards have been discovered in Poland, including what is known as the “Treasure of Głogów”. One of the largest treasure finds in Poland, the famous medieval cache was uncovered in 1987 by locals. Archaeologists finally counted more than 20,000 silver coins in all, as well as thousands of coin fragments, and seven bars of silver. The coins dated back to the 11th and 12th century. They were thought to have been owned by a wealthy cleric or knight, as Głogów was a vital center for the church and state at the time. It has been a busy year for archaeology in Poland as researchers have located an 18th century sex toy in latrines in Gdańsk, a Scythian treasure site at a ceremonial spring, and a huge Roman-era burial site including ‘princely graves’. Bielinis-Kopeć said of the recent coin find, “This is the greatest discovery of this kind made in today’s province Lubuskie.” More details are expected to be announced by officials as the coins are restored. The silver treasure is a lucky find that adds to the picture of early modern era Poland. Featured Image: Sixteenth and seventeenth century coins and clay pots recovered from a forest near Guzów, Poland. Credit:  Muzeum Archeologiczne Środkowego Nadodrza. 

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