Prizes of the Ministry of Culture for conscious treasure finders

Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Piotr Gliński awarded accidental discoverers of a 15th cent. treasure trove and of  World War I gas containers who alerted the appropriate authorities.

Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Gliński during the ceremony (by Radek Pietruszka)
Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Gliński during the ceremony (by Radek Pietruszka)

The Ministry receives from a few to over a dozen applications from local heritage offices each year for awarding special prizes for accidental discoveries of archaeological resources. According to Polish law, each person who finds or accidentally discovers archaeological relics can be awarded as long as they fulfil conditions mentioned in the act (securing the finds, informing the heritage authorities). A financial prize can be awarded if the find possesses significant historical, artistic or scientific value.

The Minister of Culture and National Heritage, who is currently also the vice-PM, awarded with 50000 Polish Zloty (circa 11500 Euros) a forester, Bogusław Szwichtenberg, who stumbled upon a treasure trove of over 6000 coins that possess an estimated value of 500000 PLN (circa 115000 Euros). The woodsman informed the local archaeological museum in Świdnica (western Poland).

Other awarded persons were Irena and Robert Bilski for discovering a deposit of a nerve gas container and alerting the Scientific Association of Polish Archaeologists. The canister was dating back to World War I and was found on the grounds of Fort Chrzanów, one of many 19th century forts surrounding the capital, Warsaw. The experts stated that the nerve gas bottle is an unique archaeological find. The accidental discoverers were awarded with 10000 PLN (circa 2300 Euro), which is about 10% of the find’s value.

The monetary find is currently under conservation and will become a part of the exposition of the Muzeum Archeologiczne Środkowego Nadodrza in Zielona Góra. The gas container was handed to the Polish Army Museum.

(after Nauka w Polsce & Radek Pietruszka)

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