Date:

Child burial in cave had bird skull placed in mouth

Archaeologists reveal findings of a child burial in the Tunel Wielki cave system, in which the skull of a finch was ritually placed in the mouth.

The burial was first discovered decades ago in the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland (also known as the Jurassic Highland) of Poland near the village of Ojców.

Excavations at the time revealed a shallow grave containing a young girl aged between 10-12 years old in one of the cave’s two chambers, where the skull of a finch was placed in the child’s mouth, along with a second bird skull deposited alongside the remains.

After several years of study, archaeologists have determined through a genetic analysis that the girl was not a slav, and likely came with Finnish troops that supported King Carl Gustav’s Swedish invasion of Poland at the beginning of the second half of the 17th century. During this time, Fin-no-Karelian troops of a Swedish garrison was stationed at Ojców Castle which is situated near to the cave.

- Advertisement -

Dr. Michał Wojenka from the Institute of Archeology of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow said: “We often imagine that only a regular army entered Poland during the Deluge, but we know from reports at the time that there were also quite a lot of women and children in the camps. This was also the case with the Swedish garrison at the castle in Ojców.”

The team tried to find similar funeral rituals in Scandinavia, but failed to find any direct analogies. The researchers pointed out that in some regions of Finland several hundred years ago, Christianity was not so deeply entrenched and practices referring to pagan rituals were not uncommon. Up until the 19th century AD, forest burials were still practiced in regions such as Karelia from the White Sea coast to the Gulf of Finland.

The researchers Finnish colleague Dr Kot pointed out that “birds symbolised the soul’s journey after death. However, we do not know of any bird-headed burials from the area of north-eastern Scandinavia” which adds to the mystery.

PAP

Header Image – Tunel Wielki Cave – Image Credit : Miron Bogacki

- Advertisement -

Mobile Application

spot_img

Related Articles

Geophysical study finds evidence of “labyrinth” buried beneath Mitla

A geophysical study has found underground structures and tunnels beneath Mitla – The Zapotec “Place of the Dead”

Discovery of a Romanesque religious structure rewrites history of Frauenchiemsee

Archaeologists from the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation have announced the discovery of a Romanesque religious structure on the island of Frauenchiemsee, the second largest of the three islands in Chiemsee, Germany.

Ring discovery suggests a previously unknown princely family in Southwest Jutland

A ring discovered in Southwest Jutland, Denmark, suggests a previously unknown princely family who had strong connections with the rulers of France.

Submerged evidence of rice cultivation and slavery found in North Carolina

Researchers from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) are using side-scan sonar and positioning systems to find evidence of rice cultivation and slavery beneath the depths of North Carolina’s lower Cape Fear and Brunswick rivers.

Study reveals oldest and longest example of Vasconic script

A new study of the 2100-year-old Hand of Irulegi has revealed the oldest and longest example of Vasconic script.

Archaeologists excavate the marginalised community of Vaakunakylä

Archaeologists have excavated the marginalised community of Vaakunakylä, a former Nazi barracks occupied by homeless Finns following the end of WW2.

Archaeologists find 4,000-year-old cobra-shaped ceramic handle

A team of archaeologists from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan have uncovered a 4,000-year-old cobra-shaped ceramic handle in the Guanyin District of Taoyuan City.

Traces of Khan al-Tujjar caravanserais found at foot of Mount Tabor

During excavations near Beit Keshet in Lower Galilee, Israel, archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have uncovered traces of a market within the historic Khan al-Tujjar caravanserais.