Researchers hoped to find the king’s tomb under the floor during the ongoing restoration of Jan Olbracht’s Chapel in the Wawel Cathedra that has started last year. Instead, they found a burial chamber. Only wooden elements, probably the weatherboarding, can be seen through a small opening in the vault. Was the king of Poland buried there?
“As a result of the restoration works, a hole in the vault of the chamber appeared. Most likely damage was caused because of the construction of a baroque altar because we can also see a foundation of the altar here. Through the opening you can see the inside of the burial chamber and the wooden elements,” the archaeologist Tomasz Wagner said.
The team of researchers decided to use this opening for an endoscopic examination and explore the interior of the burial chamber.
Interesting discoveries were also made in the deep probe excavation in the centre of the chapel. Backfill with a lot of fragments of the cathedral’s gothic floor was found, including, for example, fourteenth-century floor tiles stained with an ornament in the form of lilies or leaves. According to the experts, such tiles were probably a part of the cathedral chancel or could form the original floor of the 14th-century Grotto Chapel – which was built at the same time.
Then, the archaeologists found a layer of human bones, probably gothic, initially named by researchers as a cemetery layer. A trench layer behind is also clearly visible, which is probably related to the original construction of the Gothic Grotto Chapel.