Remains of Plague victims discovered at Medieval cemetery

Archaeologists discovered remains of possible Plague victims from 18th century at a Medieval cemetery in the Śródka district of Poznań, Western Poland.

One of the Plague victims (by Paweł Pawlak)

The site where the skeletons were discovered was known as a burial ground dating back to 10th-13th century. This is where the burials of individuals from the age of the Piast Dynasty were discovered. The excavations were conducted as part of a future construction at the site. The Piast-age burials are normally buried deep underground so the archaeologists were surprised by finding three younger graves above them. Judging from the location, orientation and grave goods, including a silver coin, silver ring, mountain crystal, amber, and carnelian beads, it was possible to date them to the 18th century.

Female buried in a coffin (by Paweł Pawlak)
Details of the female burial (by Paweł Pawlak)

It is believed that the buried individuals are victims of the Plague epidemic that struck Poznań in 1709. Regular cemeteries functioning in the city were closed then and the citizens had to bury their dead by themselves. It is estimated that nearly 65 percent of the city’s population, possibly 8000-9000 people, died. The three individuals were among them, and they were buried by a domestic building, possibly in the garden. Two of the individuals were buried in a hurry embraced by a shroud and the third one, an elderly woman, was placed in a pine-wood coffin.

Remains of a mutilated man (by Paweł Pawlak)

Archaeologists managed also to reach the older, Medieval graves, among which remains of a mutilated individual were found. The man was cut in half at the hight of the pelvis and a piece of pottery was found within his jaw. Experts believe that he was subjected to execution through cutting in half.

Silver ring and amber bead (by TVN24 Poznań)

(after TVN24, Nauka w Polsce, TVN24 Poznań & Paweł Pawlak)

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