The chilling archaeological discovery unearthed the skeletal remains of adults and children, some of whom were buried in pairs and coins in their mouths. The remains were buried in the village of Jeżowe in the Subcarpathia region of southeast Poland, where the S19 motorway is being constructed. Archaeologists have dated the discovery to the 17th century.
According to the General Director for National Roads and Motorways (GDDKIA), 115 burials were first unearthed in Jeżowe in the Góry Kościelne or Church Mountain range.
Archaeologists have since expanded their discoveries to a total of 119 remains.
The experts have since confirmed up to 80 percent of the bones belong to children.
According to archaeologist Kataryna Oleszek of the archaeology group Arkadia, the burial site could have been designated specifically for children.
A second theory suggests there was a high mortality rate among children in this area.
Archaeology news: Archaeologists have founds 115 burials in southeast Poland (Image: GDDKIA)
Archaeology news: The majority of skeletons belonged to children (Image: GDDKIA)
The archaeologists hope to learn more after a careful analysis by anthropologists.
She told TVN24: “We must take all precautions, we must work with as much delicacy and attention to detail as possible.
“First of all, so we do not miss anything, and second of all, these bones are very fragile.”
The archaeologists are, however, certain the buried people were most likely poor as they were buried without any personal possessions.
The GDDKIA said in a statement: “115 skeletal graves were discovered during archaeological works on the construction of the S19 Podgórze-Kamień section.
“While carrying out archaeological surveillance work as part of the S19 motorway, graves with human remains were discovered.
“The burial pits were located in the Kościelne Mountains, a range of hills in Jeżówe, where in 1604 the first parish was erected.
These bones are very fragile
Kataryna Oleszek, Arkadia
“To date, archaeologist have found 115 skeletal graves.”
The grave pits were all oriented along the east to west axis, with heads pointing towards the west.
The GDDKIA said: “Based on archaeological observations to date, we can conclude that about 70 to 80 percent of all burials are children.
“This is probably tied to the fact that in this place a part of the cemetery was separated, where the youngest residents of Jeżowe were buried.”
The burial pits were poorly equipped by the archaeologists were surprised to find coins in the mouths of the remains.
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Archaeology news: A motorway is being constructed near the discovery (Image: GETTY)
Archaeology news: Some of the skeletons had coins in their mouths for the afterlife (Image: GDDKIA)
The coins are most likely a link to old Polish folklore and beliefs about the afterlife.
These coins are known as an obol of the dead or Charon’s obol – a form of payment used by the soul in the afterlife.
In ancient Greek mythology, the souls of the dead would hand over the coin to Charon, the ferryman of Hades.
The ferryman would then carry the deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron into the world of the dead.
These particular coins are known as boratynki and półtoraki.
The coins were minted at the start of the 17th century during the reign of King Sigismund III Vasa.
According to Eric J. Gilchrest”s book Revelation 21-22 in Light of Jewish and Greco-Roman Utopianism, the practice of burying people with obols in the fifth century BCE.
He wrote: “As early as the sixth and into the fifth centuries BCE, the landscape of the afterlife began to change dramatically.
“Archaeological evidence shows that it is during the fifth century that the dead begin to be buried with an obol meant for Charon, the ferryman at the river Styx.”
Many more incredible archaeological discoveries have been made in Poland.
In 2019, for instance, researchers found evidence of two 7,000-year-old structures.