Vistula River Sunken Treasures From 17th Century Revealed In Receding Waters

Drought Reveals River's Bloody Past

While record drought is usually not a good thing, it's been a boon to archeologists in Poland.

The Vistula River, which flows through Warsaw, has receded so much that it's revealed sunken treasure from the 17th century, Reuters reported.

The trove of marble columns, fountains and other palace stonework provides further evidence of a Swedish invasion about 400 years ago, the article said. It also proves that the plundering nation from the north didn't know how to ferry the haul back home. After the Swedes looted Poland's castles, their barges sank under the weight of their spoils to rest on the river bed, say historians.

The lowest water levels in 200 years also yielded World War II explosives and pieces of Jewish gravestones, according to Virtual Shtetl, a web portal of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The burial fragments, probably taken from a nearby cemetery, were used to pave the river bottom after the war, Virtual Shtetl wrote.

Drought has brought history to the surface elsewhere recently. Record lows for Lake Kucukcekmece in Istanbul have been uncovering relics from as far back as the fourth century from the ancient submerged city of Bathonea, the New York Times reported in January. Findings included buildings, walls, and even a Byzantine church.

In Texas last year, receding lakes unveiled a prehistoric skull, fossils and a cemetery thought to have housed the bodies of freed slaves, according to reports.

In Poland, several dozen tons of artifacts are covered in stinky mud, but some of the stonework has already been excavated and stored in a Warsaw river police building, noted Reuters.

"Now we have evidence, the best material evidence of the Swedish invasion so far," Hubert Kowalski, deputy director of the University of Warsaw Museum and leader of the dig, told the news agency.

Popular in the Community