Archaeologists were able to determine who and why was buried in a small area by the reconstructed road in Mińsk Mazowiecki, east of Warsaw, Poland. It turned out that these were possibly individuals that died due to a cholera outbreak in 17th century.
The archaeologists knew that there was a cemetery in the excavated area. In the past workers accidentally unearthed groups of human bones. Due to the present excavations the range of the cemetery was revealed as over 100 burials were discovered by now. Some clues lead the archaeologists to the conclusion that these are the burials of people that died due to a cholera outbreak in 17th century – a decease that spread during times of war and natural disasters through contaminated food and water.
There are few objects within the burials, in contrast to other graves from that time period bu the dating was possible to be done through coins found in the burials. Most of the finds consist of parts of clothing, such as pins or buckles. It also seems that the individuals were buried wrapped in shrouds or naked. Some of the skeletons were also buried without any funerary items, some were buried in groups, some containing burials of two adults and two children. Moreover, some of the bones bear signs of burning, as if they were subjected to cremation in order to stop the disease from spreading. It seems to the archaeologists that the cemetery was hurriedly created and utilized for a short period. The researchers state that the cholera outbreak hypothesis will be verified through further specialist analysis.
(after Nauka w Polsce, Zofia Kowarska & Szymon Lenarczyk)