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300 Year-Old-Girl Buried With A Finch in Her Mouth

Recently, a team of archaeologists examine and analyze the skeleton of a buried girl which has been discovered around 1967-1968 by Waldemar Chmielewski also an archaeologist during excavation in Tunel Wielki Cave, Southern Poland. Interestingly, they found the head of at least one finches in her mouth. And they are still confused by this mysterious burial and are trying to unravel the mystery behind it. According to the new radiocarbon dating , the girl died approximately three hundred years ago.

Image Credit: Live Science

They think this is very unusual, because the European during the Middle Age already stopped burying their dead relatives inside the caves

The researcher team publish an online journal on May 29 in the German Prehistoric Journal (Journal Praehistorische Zeitschrift), stated that "Cave burials are generally absent from historical periods in Europe. Consequently, the discovery of a post-medieval inhumation of a child buried in Tunel Wielki Cave is an exceptional find."

There is another unusual fact that the girl has at least 1 bird head stuffed in her mouth, and there are no other examples about this method are known from this time in Europe

After examining the girl's skeleton in depth, researchers from the University of Warsaw and various institutions in Poland, found new facts that the girl died between the ages of 10 and 12 years. Her bone structure also showed signs of stunted growth in later years, most likely the result of a metabolic disease. The researchers found no sign of any evidence of trauma, or any clues as to how the girl died. No grave remains, other than a bird's head stuffed into its mouth, were found.

The researchers team attempted a series of scientific tests and examined historical records to try to solve the mystery of why she was buried this way and who the girl was. DNA tests showed that the girl possibly came from northern Poland, around modern-era Finland or Karelia.

According to historical records, from 1655 to 1657, the area was occupied by the soldiers of King Charles X Gustav of Sweden. Most of his troops were from the Finnish and Karelian armies, and the soldiers traveled frequently with their families. "The soldiers, mostly of low rank, were usually accompanied by wives, concubines, and sometimes maids," the researchers wrote.

Based on the 19th century's historical record also show that people in Karelian, believed that if someone died in the forest, they should be buried in the forest, not in a cemetery.

"Historically, this old custom belief appears to be rooted in cosmological conceptions of forests as graves", the researchers wrote.

From the findings of this historical record, the researchers suspect that this girl may have come to the area and died in the forest where the cave was during the war of 1655-1657. The researchers noted that Ojc√≥w Castle, which housed many soldiers and their families, was located near the cave. 

However, why she was buried with at least one finch head in her mouth remains unknown.


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