18.10.2021

AGH UST Scientists Examine Stone Sarcophagi


What secrets do they hide? Scientists from the Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Protection try to answer that question. They, together with the creators of the History Hiking channel, have examined the von Magnis Mausoleum in Ołdrzychowice Kłodzkie.

The AGH UST scientists, invited by the local parish and the Hiking History crew, have examined the sarcophagi using a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and a caesium vapour magnetometer. Work in the Neo-Romanesque necropolis is conducted by Assoc. Professor Sławomir Porzucek, Monika Łój, DSc, and Jerzy Karczewski, DSc, from the Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Protection.

‘All objects made of iron generate a magnetic field, which is why an instrument such as the caesium vapour magnetometer can help us in our search’, explains Assoc. Professor Sławomir Porzucek.

‘Examining magnetic fields is not something you usually do inside. There is too much interference. Here, however, we have reasons to believe that the sarcophagi may contain objects made of steel. The magnetic method is extremely sensitive to this type of material, which is why we can allow ourselves to test it, to be able to answer the question of what is inside the sarcophagi’, explains Dr Monika Łój.

We already know that at least some of the sarcophagi contain coffins. Towards the end of the Second World War, Germans attempted to hide their valuables, also in coffins. Can the catacombs of Ołdrzychowice Kłodzkie hide treasures left by the Germans? This is the question to which the History Hiking Crew wants to find answers. There are eight sarcophagi in the catacombs of a monumental building, each weighing up to seven tons.

‘Most probably, the sarcophagi were constructed first, and only then the mausoleum was built on top of them’, explains Łukasz Kazek from History Hiking.

The 130-year-old mausoleum belonged to the German aristocratic family von Magnis, whose nestor was the contemporary possessor of Ołdrzychowice Kłodzkie, count Anton Franz von Magnis. For many years, the mausoleum was neglected; however, the local parish priest saw the potential for tourism in this magnificent property.

‘I have decided to clean up this place and make it available to tourists as a museum, preserving the religious nature of the place’, says Stefan Łobodziński, the parish priest of Ołdrzychowice Kłodzkie.

During the filming of the History Hiking episode, the researchers managed to open one of the sarcophagi. As expected, there was a coffin inside. What secrets do the remaining sarcophagi hide? The History Hiking crew awaits the test results of the AGH UST scientists, which will definitely shed some light on the big secret.