Czech archaeologists say that a burial site of the pharaohs where they are excavating not far from Cairo, Egypt, has been put under army guard. The move has been taken to stop the site being pillaged and vandalised according to excavation team leader Miroslav Bárta. Objects at the site were attacked on Monday with the extent of the damage still to be ascertained, he said. The attacks came during unrest in the country and demonstrations calling for the current rulers to step down. Czech archaeologists have been working at the site for more than 50 years.
Specialists have opened a crypt beneath the famous Sedlec Ossuary in the Central Bohemian town of Kutná Hora. The crypt was built on to the ossuary in 1710 by the celebrated architect Jan Blažej Santini and has not been opened since 1833. Thursday’s reopening was part of a study seeking to determine why the monument is gradually tilting; probes will be dug in order to determine the structure’s disposition. According to historical records, the crypt contains the remains of 14 local townsmen.
Archaeologists working in the Blanka Tunnel construction site near Prague Castle have discovered 24 tombs that they believe are either from the Thirty Years War in the 17th century or the War of the Austrian Succession a hundred years later. The discovery means a further delay for completion of the tunnel, as the researchers believe dozens more graves lay in the vicinity. Prehistoric artefacts from roughly 7,000 years ago have also been found in the area. The Archaeological Institute predicts a delay of four months, but says it is impossible to be certain as each scoop of a bulldozer brings up more findings.
An archaeological expedition organised by the National Museum has made remarkable finds in the area of Wad ban Naqa – ruins dating back to the Kingdom of Meroe in today’s Sudan. The Náprstek Museum is currently holding talks on the expedition’s progress after the first two seasons, including research at a temple dedicated to Nubian lion gods. They have also been studying a circular structure whose origins have remained a mystery since it was first excavated in the 1950s.
A lesser known quarter of Prague, somewhat off the tourist beaten track is under the spotlight at Prague’s main municipal museum. The area is Libeň which was transformed from a downriver district of fields, farms and vineyards by the industrial revolution and largely made over again from the middle of the 20th century.
Danish and Czech researchers have just completed the first part of a project that should throw more light on the death of the 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe. Legend has it the Dane died of a burst bladder, though tests of his hair indicated possible mercury poisoning. The scientists this week took fresh samples from Brahe’s remains, before returning them to his tomb at the Týn Church in Prague. Just prior to the reinterment, Radio Prague spoke to the head of the team, Jens Vellev.
Czech scientists have launched an unusual project that might lead them to the descendants of a medieval “vampire”. On Tuesday, they collected DNA samples from around a dozen inhabitants of Hrádek nad Nisou, where a 14th century grave had been found with a body buried in a way typical for outcasts. But the main purpose of the project is to draw attention to science, and to a new town museum that should open next year.
Specialists have suggested that human remains removed from the tomb of Tycho Brahe on Monday at Prague’s Church of Our Lady Before Týn are indeed those of the famous Danish astronomer who died under mysterious circumstances in Emperor Rudolf II’s court in 1601. Czech TV reported that experts examined the small pewter coffin from the astronomer’s tomb at the anthropological depository of the National Museum on Tuesday, finding almost complete skeletal remains as well as hair and facial hair samples. Those were first examined in 1901 – 400 years after Brahe’s death – when the coffin was first opened. The remains will now undergo new testing. Samples of the astronomer’s hair and beard taken during the previous exhumation in 1901 revealed a high level of mercury, suggesting the famous astronomer may have been poisoned. Some have theorised he could have been murdered by his collaborator Johannes Kepler or at the behest of the Danish king.
Czech archaeologists on Monday opened the tomb of the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe at the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn near Prague’s Old Town Square. Danish scientists have requested the exhumation of the astronomer’s remains in the hope of clarifying the mysterious circumstances of his death at Emperor Rudolf’s court in 1601. They believe Brahe may have been murdered in Prague at the behest of the Danish King Christian IV. Samples of the astronomer’s hair and beard taken during a previous exhumation in 1901 revealed a high level of mercury in his remains, suggesting he may have been poisoned. If the remains are in a condition that would afford DNA samples, the casket will be transported to the anthropological depository of the National Museum for further study. The exhumation has sparked enormous media interest attracting more than 100 journalists to the Czech capital. The scientists are expected to give a news conference on Friday.
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