Archaeologists discover 1,000-year-old silver coins at medieval fortress

Archaeologists discovered a collection of coins thought to be nearly 1,000 years old at the site of a medieval fort in southern Poland.

Researchers found 12 silver coins at the fortress, which is located in the town of Wiślica, among the oldest settlements in Poland. Wiślica has played an important role in the history of the country, although its current population numbers no more than a few hundred people.

Founded more than 1,000 years ago, before the Polish state had emerged, Wiślica was once a thriving religious and political center of medieval Poland. Several archaeological remains and medieval structures have been found in the area.

Of the 12 coins that the team discovered, 11 are from the era of Bolesław the Bold, who ruled Poland between 1058 and 1079, Michał Gliński, the archaeologist in charge of the excavations, told the Polish newspaper Echo Dnia. The remaining coin appears to have been minted in the period of Władysław Herman, who ruled Poland between 1079 and 1102.

Three silver medieval coins found in Poland
Three of the silver coins found by archaeologists in Poland. The coins are thought to be nearly 1,000 years old.
Świętokrzyska Grupa Eksploracyjna

In the 1960s and 1970s, the famous “Wiślica treasure”—comprising more than 500 medieval coins—was found at the site of the hillfort.

“Therefore, we are expanding the Wiślica treasure with new monuments. This is a lot of satisfaction for an archaeologist,” Gliński said.

The latest coin finds came during an ongoing revitalization program, part of which involves archaeological work being carried out in the town. Archaeologists were assessing the hillfort site in search of metal artifacts that may not have been discovered previously.

“Like many valuable finds, they will enrich the collection of the Museum in Wiślica,” Jacek Gocyk, chairman of the town council, told Echo Dnia.

Gliński thanked a local amateur metal-detecting organization, the Świętokrzyska Exploration Group, for their help in uncovering the coins. The group said in a Facebook post that it was “stunned and pleasantly surprised” that it was given the opportunity to deploy its metal-detecting equipment at the site.

“I emphasize once again that without the professionalism of the members of the Świętokrzyska Exploration Group, this would not have been possible,” Gliński said.

Archaeologists also uncovered an artifact known as a fibula from Roman times, likely from the 2nd century A.D., during the recent work.

A fibula is a type of decorative clasp designed to fasten garments that was used in Europe from the late Bronze Age to the early Middle Ages. The origin of the fibula in question is unclear.

“This does not significantly affect the now-recognized history of the site. This is a curiosity that will not disprove any hypotheses. We can only guess how it got here,” Gliński said.

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