Czech archaeologists are best-known for their work in Egypt, spanning five decades, but some specialists have begun making headlines for excavation work in a different part of the world: Mesopotamia – the cradle of ancient civilisation that is now present-day Iraq. Recently an eight-member team headed by Karel Nováček of the University of West Bohemia, returned from northern Iraq after having uncovered Stone Age tools that were used by either our ancestors or our distant relatives (Homo neanderthalensis). The tools date back some 150,000 years,
Czech authorities recently granted permission to experts from Denmark’s Aarhus University to explore the grave of astronomer Tycho Brahe. The famous Danish-born scholar died in Prague in 1601 under suspicious circumstances. Peter Andersen, who has a theory linking Danish king Christian to the astronomer’s death, says research should be done in Denmark as well, and that the consequences could be far reaching.
Archaeological research in Prague’s St Haštal church failed on
Wednesday to discover the remains of the 13th century Czech saint, Agnes
Bohemia. The archaeologists lowered a camera into a vault near the altar
the church that was believed to be the saint’s tomb. However, the
found there come from the 18th century, rather than from the Middle Ages.
St. Agnes, a daughter of the Bohemian King Přemysl Otakar I, renounced a life of wealth and comfort to found a Franciscan Convent in Prague in 1232. She died in 1282 and was canonized a few days before the start of the Velvet Revolution in November 1989. Her remains are believed to have been hidden during the Hussite wars and were never rediscovered.
Archeologists began excavations Tuesday in a Prague church to find the remains of the 13th century Czech saint St. Agnes of Bohemia. The excavations are taking place at two locations near the altar of St Haštal’s Church where hopes have been raised that the remains could be found. A vault was discovered after part of the 19th century floor was removed at one point. The vault, however, appears to be from the Baroque period rather than the Middle Ages. St. Agnes, who was canonised a few days before the start of the Velvet Revolution in November 1989, was a noblewoman who renounced a life of wealth and comfort to found Franciscan Convent in Prague in 1232. Her remains are believed to have been hidden during the Hussite wars and were never rediscovered.
The Czech president, Václav Klaus, met with his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak on Monday during a three-day visit to Egypt. According to Mr Klaus’ office one of the points discussed was the prospect for a major exhibition of Egyptian archaeological finds at Prague castle within the next two years. The Czech President also invited Mr Mubarak to the Czech Republic with hopes raised that the visit could occur this year. The Egyptian president last visited in 1994. Talks also covered trade relations and relations between Israel and Palestine. Mr Klaus was also due to take part in a signing of the Arabic version of his book Blue Planet in Green Shackles, which questions the belief that mankind is responsible for global warming.
The House of Rosenberg was one of the most powerful noble families in Czech history. They were the de facto rulers of Bohemia for much of the Middle Ages, but their dynasty came to an end with the death of the celebrated Petr Vok, in 1611. Now, archaeologists in South Bohemia, where the family had its seat, have come across their family tomb, and in doing so have set straight a well-known legend that surrounds them.
Agnes of Bohemia was a princess of royal blood yet she refused a politically arranged marriage – as was the order of the day – and went into a nunnery, devoting her life to caring for the ill and needy. More than seven centuries after her death she was canonized by Pope John Paul II, just days before the 1989 Velvet Revolution. The twentieth anniversary of her canonization comes amidst speculation that restorers may have uncovered her long-lost remains.
Archaeologists have finished what has been the biggest excavation ever in the Czech Republic. The work on a 40 hectare site near the city of Kolín in Central Bohemia uncovered three large Neolithic ditched enclosures or roundels, one is believed to be the biggest of its type in Europe. The function of such buildings is unclear with theories advanced that they could have served a religious purpose, used for protection during war or were facilities for trade or as a workshop. Excavation of the site began in April 2008 with around 80 workers involved. The site forms part of a bypass round the city.
Reconstruction of an area rich with monuments near the village of Valeč in West Bohemia yielded a mystery that has archaeologists and anthropologists scratching their heads. When workers renovating the Church of the Holy Trinity belonging to the noble Štampach family lost a hammer through the floor, they discovered a hidden tomb and the oddly laid remains of an unknown woman. Earlier I spoke with the head of the archaeological team, Kateřina Postránecká, who described the scene:
Archaeologists in Prague have discovered medieval Jewish tombstones at a construction site at the Národní třída station of the metro. Preliminary research suggests that the markers are not components of a burial site, but were instead taken from a former cemetery lying to the south and used as building material. The discovery of a Jewish cemetery on the site of what is to become a multifunctional building would likely be an unpleasant surprise to the building’s investors; 10 years ago, Jewish communities in the Czech Republic and even abroad demonstrated and eventually forced changes to the construction of a parking garage - not far from Národní třída - when a Jewish burial site was found on the site.