Mystery of 500-year-old mass grave containing corpses of 115 CHILDREN with coins stuffed in their mouths

CONSTRUCTION workers in Poland have uncovered a 500-year-old mass grave containing the remains of over 100 children.

A total of 115 corpses were unearthed by archaeologists near the site in the southeast of the country – with many found with coins stuffed in their mouths.

According to archaeologists, the burial ground dates back to the late 16th century – with around 80 percent of the corpses belonging to children.

All were found with their backs on the ground and their hands at their sides, and archaeologists were surprised to find many lying with a coin placed inside their mouths.

Katarzyna Oleszek, who is working at the site, told First News that this is driven by a pre-Christian folk tradition of preparing the dead for the afterlife by placing a coin in the mouth of the corpse.

The coin acts as a bribe for folk legend 'Charon' – the ferryman who takes souls across the river that divides the living world from the world of the dead.

Archaeologists at the site dated the coins back to the reign of Sigismund III Vasa, who was king of Poland from 1587 to 1632, while other coins date back to John II Casimir's rule from 1648 to 1668.

The discovery confirms a long-standing myth held by locals of a children's graveyard.

The cemetery was discovered at a site near the town of Nisko in Podkarpackie province, where builders were clearing a forest for Poland's new S19 motorway,that will stretch from Greece to Lithuania.

Oleszek added that the fact that the bodies were laid carefully side by side shows the discovery was a Catholic cemetery.

She said: "The arrangement of the skeletons, the state of their preservation, shows that the discovery is a Catholic church cemetery, which was certainly taken care of. No grave is damaged by another.

"The inhabitants knew exactly where they had graves and took care of them."

Teams on the site did not find any other items apart from the coins, suggesting that the site may have been used by poor individuals in the area.

Investigations are underway as to whether there is another site nearby containing the graves of the children's parents.

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