Skeletons uncovered under basilica’s flooring

Remains of graves, and skeletons of buried individuals were uncovered under the floor of the Assumption of Saint Mary Basilica in Rzeszów, South-East Poland. The burials are dated back to 17th century.

Skeletons found in the basilica (by Fundacja Rzeszowskiego Ośrodka Archeologicznego)

The discovery was made by archaeologists at the start of their work at the basilica. It is suspected that the graves are linked to a cemetery that existed at the site of the present building, therefore they might date back to before 17th century. In the southern part of the transept the researchers also discovered a previously unknown crypt that consists of a number of rooms. At least 5 individuals were buried there in coffins, with their hands joined as for a prayer. According to anthropologist Joanna Rogóż, the remains belonged to four adults, including a younger individual around 25 years old, and to an infant. Two skulls were cut in half. Among the artefacts discovered within the crypt are pottery shards, nails, coins, elements of clothes, and a rosary.

Researchers at the site (by Fundacja Rzeszowskiego Ośrodka Archeologicznego)

In a second surveyed crypt the researchers discovered remains of a couple of coffins, filled probably with bones. Tthe containers have not been studied yet. Dariusz Bobak, archaeologist, stated that the second crypt is younger than the basilica, because they were constructed after its completion, so it might date back not further than 17th century. All of the discovered remains will be subjected to further analysis that should allow to identify the gender, age and general physical condition of the deceased. According to the custodian of the sanctuary, only noble or high status individuals were buried in these crypts, including abbots and founders, so there might be members of the Lubomirski or Ligęza families among them.

(after Fundacja Rzeszowskiego Ośrodka Archeologicznego & Nauka w Polsce)

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