About 50 pieces of early medieval jewelry constitute a treasure that was kept by a resident of Brańsk (Podlaskie Voivodeship) for years. The prosecutor’s office discontinued the investigation due to the statute of limitations. Now valuable artifacts, dating back to the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries, have been deposited in the Podlasie Museum in Białystok. They are to be included in the permanent exhibition.
When the provincial conservator of monuments, together with the police and the National Tax Administration, presented these unusual objects in September 2022, it was not stated where they came from.
There was only talk about joint activities of the police and the National Audit Office, as well the then ongoing investigation into suspected stolen goods of the person from whom these items were found. It was indicated that the treasure came from the Brańsk area, and information about its existence was passed on among archaeologists in the 1990s. These items have been in demand ever since.
The treasure consists of approximately 50 pieces of various jewelry made of silver and bronze, including: silver and glass beads, bracelet, ring, semicircular earrings, chain.
These items were in a clay pot. They date back to the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries. Initially, it was estimated that the jewelry belonged to a wealthy townswoman. It was emphasized that the material, historical and cultural value of these items is enormous.
Archaeologist: a unique set of monuments
In February 2023, the District Prosecutor’s Office in Bielsk Podlaski announced that due to the statute of limitations for criminal convictions, the investigation into the Brańsk treasure was discontinued.
The investigators thus gave the green light to hand over the monument. Previously, prof. Małgorzata Dajnowicz, conservator of monuments in Podlasie, announced that the treasure would be deposited in the Podlasie Museum.
It happened on Wednesday (October 18). The treasure is in the archeology department.
– This is a unique set of monuments – said Aleksander Piasecki, an archaeologist from the Podlasie Museum.
As he added, “it is a nicely preserved complex from the second half of the 10th century, associated with contacts with Russia.”
The archaeologist noted that now the monuments will be subjected to specialist research and conservation in order to determine their origin and chronology. He added that the archeology department would then like to display the jewelry. It is to be included in the permanent exhibition.
He said that archaeologists had known about this treasure for several years. They also allegedly knew that it had been looted by an illegal treasure hunter.
– Our hearts were bleeding, so when it turned out that we had found this team, our hopes were renewed and today they were finalized – he added.
The conservator is happy that the monument has been moved to the museum
Prof. Małgorzata Dajnowicz, in the information posted on social media on Wednesday, expressed her joy that the treasure had found its way to the Podlasie Museum.
– We have been cooperating with a team of archaeologists from the Podlasie Museum in Białystok for years. I am even more pleased that the early medieval treasure will go to the museum’s archeology department. The professionalism of the staff and the available exhibition facilities make the Podlasie Museum the best place to continue taking care of our extraordinary discovery – she emphasized.
He was supposed to get the treasure from his wife’s grandfather
When the conservation services received a report about the treasure in 2022, they notified law enforcement authorities. It turned out that valuable, antique items were owned by one of the residents of Brańsk, who claimed that he received them years ago from his wife’s grandfather, who found them in the area of this town. The so-called A castle, a stronghold dating back to the 11th-14th centuries.
During the investigation, the Bielsko prosecutor’s office determined that this person’s grandfather died in June 2001, so the transfer of valuables by him must have taken place before that date.
The proceedings were discontinued
The head of the Bielsko prosecutor’s office informed in February that two acts were considered in the investigation – misappropriation of found items and stolen goods, i.e. taking possession of these (illegally obtained) items by a resident of Brańsk.
The prosecutor’s office determined that both of these acts had expired. They were committed no later than June 2001, and more than 10 years ago. This is the statute of limitations for both crimes that the prosecutor’s office took into account in this case.
Main photo source: WUOZ in Białystok