Updated: Jan 21, 2021
A recent underwater inspection of a Lithuanian bridge surprised divers when they found the remains of a medieval soldier lying on the bottom of the lake bed.
During a recent underwater inspection of a bridge over Lithuania’s Lake Asveja, divers were shocked to find the remains of a man still wearing a pair of leather boots with spurs, 30 feet beneath the surface of the lake.
When the divers found the skeleton, it initially lay under a deep layer of sludge. So they elected to use a floating water pump to carefully remove the silt and sand from the remains. Other artifacts found nearby include a leather belt and buckle, an iron sword, and two knives, all of which were in an excellent state of preservation.
Although archaeologists do not yet know how the young man died, he was most likely a soldier who passed away sometime in the 1500s, most likely by being thrown over, falling off of the bridge.
Dubingiai bridge, under which the remains were found, is one of the longest wooden bridges in Lithuania. Built in 1934, it is currently in need of restoration, so the divers were sent down to inspect its deteriorating support system.
A 1998 survey had revealed that an earlier bridge once crossed the lake at this location. The original bridge had led to Dubingiai castle, the remains of which can be seen from the bridge. The castle, at the time of the soldier’s death, was one of the most important fortresses in the Baltics and protected Lithuania from attacks from nearby Livonia.
Researchers believe the soldier may have served in the garrison stationed at the castle.
Over the coming year, archaeologists and scientists at the University of Vilnius are will be carefully analyzing the remains and artifacts in hopes of uncovering more info about the unknown soldier's life.