Archaeologists believe to have unearthed the grave of Zygmunt Sierakowski, one of the leaders of the January Uprising (1863-1864) against the Russian Empire, at the Gediminas Hill at the Old Town of Vilnius.
During the excavations at the Gediminas Hill four graves were discovered, containing coffins with remains of seven people. The individuals within the coffins had their arms bound at the back and were covered with lime. The coffins also contained remains of clothes, boots, belts, buttons, and medals. On the finger of one of the individuals a golden wedding ring was discovered with an engraving on the inner side saying: “Zygmunt Apolonia August 11th/July 30th 1862“. The experts believe the ring belonged to one of the leaders of the January uprising of 1863, Zygmunt Sierakowski, who – according to historic sources – was buried at the site. The wife of Sierakowski was Apolonia Dalewska and the second date on the ring matches with the date of their wedding.
It is believed that between 1863-1864 around 21 uprising fighters were buried on the slopes of the Hill, including Zygmunt Sierakowski and Konstanty Kalinowski. The fighters were publicly executed at one of the squares of Vilnius and then buried in secret by the Russian officials, so the families and the society would not know the exact place. Apolonia Sierakowska was ordered by the Russian governor of Vilnius to witness her husband’s execution, despite being pregnant. The Gediminas Hill seemed a suitable location for the burial as since 1831 it was a military fortress of the Imperial Russian Army. The remains will now undergo anthropological investigation and possibly DNA analysis. All of the remains found at the Hill are scheduled for further analysis, together with 4 previously discovered.
(after RMF24, Kęstučio Stoškaus & Lietuvos Respublikos kultūros ministerija)