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Construction Worker Unearths Valuable Medieval Treasure

July 7, 1988

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ A construction worker in a southwestern Polish town uncovered a medieval treasure pot, and other residents found out and scooped up some of the gold coins, Polish television reported.

The 14th century treasure found in Sroda Slaska is worth an estimated $6.9 million and consists of more than 1,000 gold coins minted in Prague and Gdansk as well as a gold crown encrusted with precious stones, the report said.

The valuables apparently were hidden in the 1340s when the black plague ravaged Europe, according to the national evening TV news Wednesday.

″What was found in Sroda Slaska could possibly be called the treasure of the millenium,″ said Tadeusz Kaletyn, director of the provincial archaeological and renovation center in nearby Wroclaw, in an interview with Dziennik Ludowy, the peasant party daily newspaper.

When the unidentified construction worker’s spade struck metal, he had no idea of the wealth buried beneath him.

″At first I thought those were just milk-bottle caps when I turned them over with my spade,″ the worker said on television.

The public scramble to pocket the scattered coins caused police to move in to protect the find, the TV reported.

Dozens of coins were recovered during a house-to-house search by police. One person was arrested and two youngsters with precious coins on them were detained outside a jewelery store in the nearby city of Wroclaw.

Police believe that the public still has many pieces of gold and prosecutors are continuing an investigation to help recover the valuables for the state treasury, although the most valuable items have been recovered, Dziennik Ludowy said.

Authorities say they will reward those who turn in their cache.

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