A 2,000-year-old warriors’ burial ground containing weapons and mysterious stone structures has been discovered buried in a farmer’s field in Poland, according to a report from Science in Poland. Archaeologists say this is not the first time these mysterious structures have been found in the area, yet their purpose remains unknown.
The burial ground is located in Bejsce, in the Polish province of Świętokrzyskie in south-central Poland. According to Jan Bulas of the Institute of Archeology at the Jagiellonian University, who led the research, archaeologists initially found fragments of ceramic urns and shells in the field. The high density of urn fragments led researchers to suspect there might be more hiding beneath the soil. Bulas says:
“We do not know exactly how many graves were in the cemetery, because our research is still at an initial stage, the graves are destroyed and often spread over a large area of the field.”
So far, researchers have discovered 20 individual graves in a 200 square meter area. The graves were discovered alongside oddly shaped and corroded chunks of metal which were nearly impossible to identify. These chunks of metal turned out to be swords, javelins, and spears weathered after 2,000 years in the ground. Bulas says that the high soil quality of the area means that many of the iron artifacts have been rusted into near-oblivion.
So far, the researchers have collected nearly 200 metal artifacts, including four swords and nine spear tips, alongside other artifacts of bone, stone, and clay.
The researchers also discovered a series of mysterious stone structures. Each of the stone structures is built as a square with a triangular cross-section. The structures are also oriented according to each of the four cardinal directions. It’s not the first time researchers have seen these structures. According to Jan Bulas:
“Similar structures, so-called grooved objects, are known from other cemeteries from this period in southern Poland, but their function is still unclear. In Bejce, they contained fragments of ceramic vessels as well as metal objects.”
Researchers say the structures may represent different families’ designated areas of the burial ground.
So far researchers do not know who is buried here, in any sense. Information on the peoples of southern Poland 2,000 years ago is sparse, and the warriors could have belonged to a number of different groups. Researchers say the deceased warriors could have been a part of the Przeworsk culture due to the styles of ceramics found at the site. Jan Bulas thinks they could have been a part of the Lugii tribal union, a confederation of different groups under one political banner.
The team says they’re now planning for more excavations of the area, perhaps they’ll find more clues to the identity of these people and the purpose of their mysterious monuments.