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Treasure hoard associated with hermit conman found in Świętokrzyskie Mountains



A treasure hoard associated with Antoni Jaczewiczar, a notorious hermit, conman, and false prophet, has been discovered in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains in south-central Poland.

During the Great Northern War (1700–1721), the Republic of Poland had a severe outbreak of plague with a peak from 1708 to 1712.

Exploiting the desperation of people for a cure, Antoni Jaczewiczar claimed to have the power of healing and protection using his prayers, gifted by the Virgin Mary, who supposedly lived with him in a hermitage in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains.

The Świętokrzyskie Mountains have historically held religious significance, with the mountains often anglicised to “Holy Cross Mountains” after a Christian relic from a nearby Benedictine monastery on Łysa Góra, said to be a small piece of wood from the Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.

Image Credit : Świętokrzyska Exploration Group

Jaczewiczar’s con became a lucrative venture, with considerable donations flowing into the coffers of his hermitage. His wealth reached such heights, that he hired armed guards and turned his hermitage into a mountain fortress.

Jaczewiczar’s scheme drew the scrutiny of local authorities, leading to his arrest and trial at the Krakow episcopal court. However, during the legal proceedings, he managed to break out of prison and absconded back to his mountain hermitage to resume his deception.

He was captured again in 1712 and tried by the court of the Bishop of Krakow, where he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Częstochowa.

Inspired by the stories told of Jaczewiczar, a team of detectorists from the Świętokrzyska Exploration Group conducted a survey with permission from the Świętokrzyskie Provincial Monument Conservator in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains.

The group discovered a large treasure hoard of coins made from silver and gold that date from the first half of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The hoard includes: orts, sixes, patagoons, krajcars and kopecks.

The most interesting coin among them is a 1648 gold Hamburg ducat featuring the depiction of the Madonna and Child, presumably intended for use as a medallion.

The group speculates that the hoard was likely collected as donations or votive offerings for Jaczewicza’s healing services, and deposited in the ground to hide his wealth when Jaczewicza was on the run from the authorities.

The hoard has been transferred to the Historical and Archaeological Museum in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. “Its conservation and detailed numismatic and historical analysis are planned this year, which we hope will provide more answers about the past of this deposit.” – said Wojciech Siudowski, from the Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments in Kielce.

Header Image Credit : Świętokrzyska Exploration Group

Sources : Świętokrzyska Exploration Group

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Excavation uncovers traces of the first bishop’s palace at Merseburg Cathedral Hill




Archaeologists from the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) Saxony-Anhalt have uncovered traces of the first bishop’s palace at the southern end of the Merseburg Cathedral Hill in Merseburg, Germany.

Construction of the early Romanesque Merseburg Cathedral was begun by Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015.

It was consecrated in 1021 in the presence of Emperor Heinrich II (Henry II), however, following a series of collapses in the eastern part of the structure, the cathedral wouldn’t be formally consecrated and opened until 1042 by Bishop Hunold.

The Merseburg Cathedral of St. John and St. Lawrence is today considered one of the most important cathedral buildings in Germany.

The LDA team were excavating the basement of the so-called Martinikurie, a two-story residential building from the Baroque period. Excavations revealed the remains of the first bishop’s palace, dating from from the time of the second consecration of Merseburg Cathedral.

According to the LDA: “We found the almost completely preserved basement-like lower floor of a hall building, whose 1.75 metre thick foundation walls are still preserved up to a height of 3.40 metres. Steps in the masonry and a pillar from the time of construction inside the building prove that at least one hall-like upper floor once stood on top of this.”
The palace was constructed by Bishop Hunold, who headed the diocese of Merseburg between 1036 and 1050.

“This finding makes it possible to locate one of the most important buildings of the episcopal see in Merseburg – a building that, with its location and size, clearly expresses the self-confidence of the diocese, which was re-founded in 1004 by King Henry II of Germany” added the LDA.

Header Image Credit : LDA

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA)

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions




Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław have uncovered ancient papyri that contains the correspondence of Roman centurions who were stationed in Egypt.

The papyri were discovered in Berenice Troglodytica, an ancient seaport of Egypt on the western shore of the Red Sea. The city was founded by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC), who named it after his mother, Berenice I of Egypt.

During the Roman period, Berenice Troglodytica was one of the main waystations for the trade in war elephants and exotic goods, imported from India, Sri Lanka, Arabia, and Upper Egypt.

Excavations of an animal cemetery located on the western outskirts of the city have uncovered an accumulation of ceramics originating from the Mediterranean, Africa and India.

Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Among the accumulation, the team found Roman coins, a fibula, ostracons (fragments of texts on ceramics), and several papyri.

The papyri contains the correspondence of centurions, naming Haosus, Lucinius and Petronius. Centurions were soldiers who were promoted to command a centuria or “century”, a military unit consisting of between 80 to 100 men.

“In the correspondence, Petronius asks Lucinius (stationed in Berenice Troglodytica) about the prices of individual exclusive goods. There is also the statement: “I am giving you the money, I am sending it by dromedarius (a unit of legionnaires moving on dromedaries). Take care of them, provide them with veal and poles for their tents.”

Dr. Marta Osypińska from the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Wrocław, said: “For Egyptologists and other scientists dealing with antiquity, this is an extremely rare and high-calibre discovery.”

“In this part of the world, there are very few sites from the Roman period. The Egyptians tend to leave little historical accounts from this time in history, because it is the moment when they were conquered.” added  Dr. Osypińska.

Header Image Credit : Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Sources : PAP

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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