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Dog finds clay pot filled with medieval coins near Wałbrzych

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Autor:
gf
Źródło:
TVN24 News in English, Lower Silesian Voivodeship Heritage Preservation Officer
Średniowieczny skarb odkryty na ziemi wałbrzyskiej
Średniowieczny skarb odkryty na ziemi wałbrzyskiejDolnośląski Wojewódzki Konserwator Zabytków
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Lower Silesian Voivodeship Heritage Preservation OfficerClay pot filled with medieval coins found near Wałbrzych

A clay pot filled with medieval coins has been discovered near Wałbrzych, south-west Poland. The finder claims that the discovery was actually made by her dog Kajtuś. Archeologists say that no such big and valuable treasure has been found in Poland in over a century.

When the discovery of ancient coins was reported on April 7, no one at the Wałbrzych branch of the Voivodeship Heritage Preservation Office expected it would turn out to be a real treasure. A woman who reported the find said that the clay pot with filled with old coins had been found by her dog. The next day, an inspector from the heritage office and a team of archeologists from the University of Wrocław went to examine the site and the found items.

"We have recently secured very valuable archeological relics. By valuable we first of all mean their historic, scientific and artistic value. However, in this particular case the (monetary) value of the items is also surprising. According to preliminary archeological assessment, no such big, officially recorded, discovery has been made in Poland in at least 100 years," the heritage preservation office said.

The coins were found in a broken clay potLower Silesian Voivodeship Heritage Preservation Officer

Flat, thin, single-sided coins

The found items are medieval bracteates. They were kept in a broken clay pot. The chronology of the find has been estimated at the first half of the 13th century. The vessel and the coins suggest the period in which someone hid their treasure. Preliminary identification of the mints points towards Brandenburg, Saxony, and Silesia.

"Bracteates were being made from thin metal. They were used as currency in the Middle Ages. The use period of each minted series was relatively short. We know from historic data that currencies in that period were being replaced 2-3 times a year. Due to that fact, not many coins have been preserved, as they were smelted and minted into new series on a regular basis. Therefore, discovery of a significant amount of coins from that period is a unique situation," the conservators say.

The name of these coins comes from a Latin word "bractea" - a thin piece of metal. Due to their thinness, they could be struck only on one side. The coins image appears in a high relief, while the back remains hollow. The very idea of minting coins from thin metal was caused by low availability of silver and gold, as well as by the mint's limited resources. At the time, only kings, princes or clergymen were allowed to issue coins. This state of affairs lasted until large deposits of silver were discovered near Prague, after which the Prague groschen, known as "the euro of medieval Europe", started to slowly replace bracteates.

Archeologists say that no such big and valuable treasure has been found in Poland in over a centuryLower Silesian Voivodeship Heritage Preservation Officer

New mecca for medievalists?

For the sake of further works, the preservation office refused to reveal exactly how many coins were found and where exactly. "According to our knowledge, the biggest collections of bracteates are kept in Kraków and Warsaw. Given the amount of recently found coins, it's safe to assume that Wrocław will now become a mecca for medievalists," the office said quite enigmatically.

What will now happen to the find? Given their age, the coins are in a surprisingly good condition. Time treated them kindly, thanks to which most of the motifs are clearly visible. Most of the coins show anthopogenic, zoomorphic, fantastical (griffins, sirens, angles etc.), or architectural (towers, walls etc.) motifs. The coins will be scientifically examined, preserved and documented. The find belongs to the State Treasury, so it will not end up on the numismatic market, but in a museum.

Autor:gf

Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Lower Silesian Voivodeship Heritage Preservation Officer

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Dolnośląski Wojewódzki Konserwator Zabytków

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