Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vistula in Warsaw reveals sunk loot from the seventeenth century

Warszawa, 11.09.2012. Wisła w Warszawie, między mostem Gdańskim, a mostem Grota-Roweckiego. Rekordowo niski stan wody w Wiśle odsłonił niezwykłe znaleziska. Przy wydobywaniu architektonicznych skarbów z wyschniętego koryta rzeki pracują archeolodzy. (tg/soa)
PAP/Tomasz Gzell
                                                                     PAP © 2012 / Tomasz Gzell

The low level of water in the Vistula River in Warsaw facilitates the work of archaeologists, who have extracted from the river bed the loot sunk during the Swedish invasion in the seventeenth century, including marble floors, stairs, railings. Dr. Hubert Kowalski of the Institute of Archaeology, Faculty of History, University of Warsaw told PAP that the researchers extract mainly pieces of architecture and sculptural decorations from the seventeenth century."Until now, we knew about the Swedes looting archives, works of art, paintings, sculptures. No one thought that they were also taking pieces such as floors, stairs, railings, even an entire staircase" - said Kowalski. "We have a part of a fountain, huge lintels weighting kundreds of kilograms, pieces decorated with Vasa coat of arms" - he added.

He believes that the finds are invaluable. "These is quality marble, also taking into account the class of art" - he said. He emphasised that water, sand and mud quite preserved the pieces, which have rested at the bottom of the river for more than 350 years. 

The finds come from the sunken Swedish boats. "We know from archival records that several Swedish boats, at least one of them in 1655 or in 1656, sunk at this spot" - said Kowalski. He added that the boats could hit the shallows, or a stone, or be sunken by the Swedes themselves, who knew that the low water level would not let them transport the stolen items.

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