17th-century hoard brimming with 1,000 coins discovered in Poland

In Poland, a metal detectorist searching a field for tractor components instead found a hoard of 400-year-old coins.

A remarkable hoard of 17th-century coins was unearthed by a metal detectorist while looking for abandoned tractor components on a Polish farm. The coins were hidden beneath the dirt.

A local resident named Michaotys discovered the treasure in late February close to the tiny hamlet of Zaniówka in eastern Poland, close to the borders with Belarus and Ukraine.

When a new metal detector began buzzing in one of the farm's fields, otys scraped away a layer of the dirt in order to locate replacement parts for his sister's tractor. That made it clear that the coins were dripping out of a cracked clay "siwak," a native jug with a single handle and a short neck.

It is against the law in Poland to use a metal detector to look for buried artifacts without a permission, so otys called archaeologists in the nearby city of Lublin, which is located about 95 miles (150 kilometers) southeast of Warsaw. They came to the farm the following day.

According to a story in the Polish news source The First News, their investigations revealed that the location of the concealed treasure was clearly delineated on the surface of the earth, indicating it had been interred there purposefully.(opens in new tab).

hidden wealth

The hoard contains about 1,000 copper coins made in Poland and Lithuania in the 17th century, according to a Facebook post on March 2 by Dariusz Kopciowski, the head of Lublin's legacy protection organization.

All of the copper pieces have turned green due to oxidation after being buried for about 400 years, and many of them have decayed in layers. But according to Kopciowski, about 115 of the pieces are loose, and the total collection weights about 6.6 pounds (3 kilograms).

The majority of the pieces were produced between 1663 and 1666 in Warsaw, Vilnius, Lithuania, and Brest, now in Belarus but then a component of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, according to investigations.

Such coins are referred to as "boratynki" after Tito Livio Burattini, who was the superintendent of the Kraków mint at the time, according to the Polish metal detecting website Zwiadowca Historii.

Italian inventor and scholar Burattini, whose coffers had been destroyed by years of conflict with Sweden, Russia, and Cossacks, brought copper coinage to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth because they were much less expensive to produce than the country's silver coins.

Although the "boratynki" tokens were originally well-liked, Burattini was later charged with degrading the copper metal used in their production while raking in enormous profits.

They could be used in daily interactions because, among other things, they weren't very valuable; according to Zwiadowca Historii, the complete hoard of 1,000 copper coins from Zaniówka could only be used to pay for "about two pairs of shoes" at the time. However, they are now worth more as historical artifacts.

According to Kopciowski, the Zaniówka currency trove will now be given to experts at a museum in the neighboring city of Biaa Podlaska for additional research.

He claimed in the statement that there were also fragments of the shattered earthenware jug and various items of historical clothing at the location.