During the research in Koszewo, a team of archaeologists from the University of Szczecin, under the floor of a Gothic church, discovered a richly decorated coffin of General Ernst Christian von Oesterling and the remains of his relatives.
At the turn of June and July, scientists from the Department of Archeology of the University of Szczecin, under the supervision of Dr. Marcin Majewski, conducted a study of the crypt in the branch church in Koszewo. This Gothic building from the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries is one of the most valuable monuments in the settlement on Lake Miedwie, near Stargard in the province of West Pomeranian Voivodeship.
There are two crypts under the church floor and the 18th-century chapel attached to it, with coffins with the remains of the former inhabitants of Koszewo penetrated before 1945 and after the war. Plunder and desecration were committed by the Soviets, and later by the inhabitants of the settlement in the communist reality.
The general is buried with three wives
According to archaeologists, up to a dozen people may be buried in the church, and the family identified in the course of the research is the von Oesterling family. She came to Pomerania from Moravia in the second half of the 17th century. This happened thanks to Ernest Christian von Oesterling, a major general who fought for many princes across Europe.
– We know from historical sources when members of the Oesterling family began to be buried in the crypt. When was the last burial, and who from the family was buried in Koszewo. So far, we have been able to identify the sarcophagi of the first Mr. Koszew, Ernst Christrian von Oersterling and his three wives. The identification of these people is confirmed by information on sarcophagi, coats of arms, and anthropological analyzes. We have a list of people buried here and now we are trying to match the bones found to the person – Dr. Katarzyna Ślusarska from the Department of Archeology says on the gs24.pl portal.
General von Oesterling’s sarcophagus – as one of the few – has been preserved in good condition. It is richly decorated, among others tin sculptures. In other coffins, however, there are remains of clothes in which the then inhabitants of these areas were buried.
A neighbor is buried among the von Oesterlings
An interesting fact is that the sarcophagus of a person not related to the von Oesterling family and Koszew was also found during the works.
– We quickly found out that the sarcophagus is from the neighboring village of Słotnica, which is no longer there. It was a medieval village, which at the beginning of the 17th century became the property of the von Petersdorff family – says Marcin Majewski.
Researchers suspect that it was its member that was buried in the crypt between the von Oesterlings.
The research carried out by a team from the University of Szczecin is to bring additional knowledge about the funeral culture of the Pomeranian nobility, but also to restore the identity of the deceased buried in this place. This is not the end of their inventory. Archaeologists will return to Koszewo in the fall. They will also start research in a church in nearby Koszewko.
tvn24.pl/ Museum of Archeology and History in Stargard, US Department of Archeology
Main photo source: Archaeological and Historical Museum in Stargard