Archaeologists may have uncovered the remains of women burned at the stake 300 ...

ARCHAEOLOGISTS in the town of Bochnia, southern Poland, have come across the charred remains of two women believed to have been burned at the stake for the murder of a child more than 300 years ago.

PUBLISHED: 14:03, Mon, Jan 11, 2021 | UPDATED: 14:05, Mon, Jan 11, 2021

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Archaeologists made the chilling discovery 341 years after three women were accused of witchcraft and infanticide and were burned alive at the town's market. Burning at the stake was a method of execution practised in the Medieval era - fifth to 15th centuries - although it was still carried out as late as the early 18th century. The painful execution was reserved for people accused of witchcraft and heresy, with its most famous victims including the English protestant bishop Hugh Latimer in 1555 and the French saint Joan of Arc in 1413.


Archaeologists in Poland came across the women's remains during restoration works at Bochnia's market.

Lead archaeologist Marcin Paternoga said: "We know there was an execution here in 1679 during which three women were burned.

"We have managed to dig up two skeletons. We continue our work, and we will undoubtedly come across another skeleton."

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The skeletal remains will be examined to confirm their cause of death, but there are many promising clues about their identities.

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Archaeology news: Witches burned at stake paintingArchaeology news: An excavation in the town of Bochnia unearthed the likely remains of 'witches' (Image: GETTY/ANETA LAZUREK)

Archaeology news: Bochnia market squareArchaeology news: The chilling discovery was made in Bochnia's market square (Image: ANETA LAZUREK)

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The bones show signs of charring associated with high temperatures and the women would have been buried right on the spot where they were executed.

Mr Paternoga said: "In the Middle Ages and the Modern era it was normal practice for condemned people to be unworthy, dishonoured and not entitled to be buried in consecrated ground.

"An additional argument was the fact they were witches, that is people rejected by the Church who could not be buried in the cemetery, as well as a person convicted of theft, murder or suicide - they were buried in the spot of their execution."

Historical sources

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