Two bronze figurines of Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the afterlife and rebirth, were recently discovered by archaeologists in the village of Kluczkowice in Opole Lubelskie County, Poland.
The discovery is believed to be a part of a collection once owned by the Kleniewski family, who lived in the Palace of Kluczkowice before the German invasion of Poland during World War II.
Maria Kleniewska, a member of the family, documented her visit to Egypt in 1904 in her diary, where she recorded spending four months in Cairo and visiting Alexandria.
However, what happened to Maria after the war is still unknown. Her husband had died during World War I, and her son, who had inherited the estate, was killed during World War II.
Kleniewski family might have hidden the artifacts
Experts believe that the family may have hidden ancient artifacts to keep them safe from the German SS during World War II, or after the war, when the palace was looted and valuables taken away.
When the Lubelskie Voivodship Conservator of Monuments (LWKZ) found the figures, they were surprised and had doubts about whether they were real or not.
The artifacts were then sent to the Voivodeship Office for the Protection of Monuments in Lublin to check if they were real.
The experts there confirmed that two of the figurines showed Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the deceased, agriculture, life, death, the afterlife, and vegetation.
The third figurine was of Bacchus, who was like the Roman version of the Greek god Dionysus. He was connected to winemaking, fruit, orchards, vegetation, fertility, festivities and theatre.
Osiris figurines dated back to the 1st millennium BC
Scientists worked with the National Museum in Lublin and the Department of Archaeology of the University of Warsaw to figure out how old the artifacts were.
They found that the Osiris figurines were from the 1st millennium BC, while the Bacchus bust was from the 1st century AD. The bust was probably part of a tripod-like one found near Mount Vesuvius in Italy during the 18th century.
Scientists also found a ceremonial sword from the 17th century. It was beautifully decorated and may have been a type of short sword called a colichemarde. This kind of sword became popular in Europe’s royal courts in 1680.
Dr. Łukasz Miechowicz, from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, talked to Science in Poland about the find. He said that the discovery of valuable items lost so long ago was very important for science, culture, and tourism.