Drought in Poland reveals 400-year-old sunken treasures
WARSAW (REUTERS) - A huge cargo of elaborate marble stonework that sank to the bottom of Poland's Vistula river four centuries ago has reappeared after a drought and record-low water levels revealed the masonry lying in the mud on the river bed.
Archaeologists believe the stonework was part of a trove which 17th-century Swedish invaders looted from Poland's rulers and loaded onto barges to transport home, only for the booty to go to the bottom when the vessels sank.
Researchers knew about the artefacts, on the river bed where the Vistula passes through the Polish capital but, before the drought, retrieving them was a painstaking task because they were under several feet of water.
Now though, the masonry - large blocks of carved marble which were used in the columns, fountains, and staircases of Polish palaces - is lying exposed apart from a coating of foul-smelling yellow mud.