Archaeologists discovered 30 mass graves of victims of plague and famine from the 14th-15th centuries during the study of the plot of the historical holy site in Kutna Hora, Jan Frolik from the Institute of Archeology archeology told journalists on Thursday.
Frolik said the tombs contained 1,500 skeletons, a record number in Bohemia since the Middle Ages.
In each mass grave, 50-70 people are buried.
“We have to realize that such a mass grave represents a population sample over a very short period of time, which is extremely valuable to us. As far as I know, 30 tombs is the largest in Europe,” he said.
Mass graves are located along the entire northern face of the mountain range, and parts on its west and east sides.
“It can be expected that other mass graves will be found during the study of the interior,” he added.
The hole is square, 2x2m in size and 2.5m deep.
Experts associate the older ones with the famine of 1318 and the others with the plague of 1348-1350.
They may not have been marked on the outside, otherwise the old ones would not have been damaged during further burials and the construction of the cathedral and chapel on the site in the late 14th century.
Frolik said the tombs without roofs did not contain many objects. Bronze and iron keys and coins were part of their inventory.
The Sanctuary of Kunta Hora is one of the most visited heritage sites in Central Bohemia, which is undergoing extensive reconstruction funded by the parish of Sedlec from ticket sales.
Works began in 2014 and is expected to last until 2024. Total cost is estimated at 55 million crowns and the ossuary will be open for the entire reconstruction period.