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A couple of Observations on a Possible Interpretation of the Úněticean Grave in Holubice, Praha-západ District

Abstract

The present study is an archaeological and anthropological analysis of a grave pertaining to the Únětice culture and discovered in Holubice, in the Praha-západ district. In the tomb pit the remains of an adult male laid on his right side with his lower limbs sharply bent, had been buried. The skeleton was found to be only partially preserved. Only the frontal bone (os frontale), the major part of the left parietal bone (parietale sin) and a part of the left temporal bone (temporale sin) were preserved. The preserved part of the skull presents signs of a slash trauma including a skull penetration. Even though the bones went through an advanced healing process, the wound had remained open. The nature of the injury indicates that the wound was surgically treated and loose bone fragments were removed. The injury had not been fatal and the individual lived for some time after. The discovered grave is unique not only for its unusual and highly accurately datable grave goods, but above all for standing as proof of the considerable medical knowledge of the people from the Únětice culture.

Open access
Heads found in Vessels in the Maďarovce-Věteřov-Böheimkirchen Cultural Complex. What Can They Tell Us?

Abstract

The author of the present article applies cognitive science theories to archaeology, and more specifically to the findings of human skulls deposited in ceramic vessels from the time of settlement of the Maďarovce-Vetěrov culture. This ritual expression is explained in the comparison with the postmortal manipulations from burial sites from the viewpoint of the theory on religious ideas and their retention in memory and Harvey Whitehouse’s theory on modes of religiosity.

Open access
Introduction to the „Archaeology of Childhood“

Abstract

The investigation of children and childhood in the past, swiftly developing as a new subfield of study around the world for almost 30 years under the term “archaeology of childhood”, has not been yet sufficiently incorporated in Czech archaeology. The aim of this paper is to introduce this topic, give an overview of research development both home and abroad, outline the available literature, summarise the actual fundamental knowledge and starting points in order to energise the progress in this field of study in our country. The article presents areas of material culture where traces of children can be identified. In the absence of any interest in childhood and children in the past or the integration of these subjects into the archaeological discourse, the testimony of archaeology on prehistoric life remains as a result, incomplete and distorted.

Open access
Organisation of funerary areas and character of burial practices at Pohansko near Břeclav (based on a comparison of the cemetery around the second church and the dispersal burial grounds in the stronghold’s southern suburb)

Abstract

At the early medieval site Břeclav – Pohansko we can distinguish two different types of funerary areas: church cemeteries with clearly defined locus sacer and dispersed burial grounds in settlements, where the boundary between the living and funerary spaces is not clearly defined. The organisation of the area for funerary activities, the selection of the burial place and the homogeneity of applied burial rites in the above-mentioned two types of funerary areas were different. In order to find out how extensive this difference is, we chose several characteristics of funerary areas and compared them with one another. The key determinants were: the spatial structure of funerary areas, and the orientation and position of individuals buried in grave pits. As an example of a church cemetery we chose the cemetery around the second church in the North-Eastern Suburb of Pohansko. The Southern Suburb of the stronghold yielded data related to funerary areas dispersed in and between settlement structures. The comparison of selected characteristics of burial customs identified in the above-mentioned church cemetery and in dispersed cemeteries demonstrates that burials around churches were most probably organised and planned centrally and that the organisation and supervision of funerary activities might have been in the hands of the clergy. The burials in cemeteries within the settlement structure, on the other hand, were organised in accordance with customs of local community. The organisation and supervision of these funerary areas were most probably in the hands of persons approved and authorised by the community, maybe some significant community member, or the “Council of Elders” or pagan priests.

Open access
Regional exchange, long-distance trade, and local imitations: Liuwan cemetery in the context of the cultural transformation from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age (cca 2000 BC) in the Chinese Northwest

Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that in the Qijia Culture Period (cca 2200–1500 BC), the Chinese Northwest participated in a broader network of contacts spanning from the Middle Yellow River Valley to Central Asia. However, opinions differ considerably as one regards the character of those contacts and their role in the genesis of the culture. On one hand, many Chinese scholars view the emergence of the Qijia Culture as a result of large migrations from the East; on the other, some western scholars suggest that a number of western human groups participated in its formation. In the present article we use the model of non-uniform institutional the complexity to explain the emergence of the Qijia Culture. We first point out its continuity with earlier Late Neolithic local cultures, and then focus on the spread of new artefacts and, as evidence suggests, of institutions from the East which led to the transformation of various aspects of the material culture within the broader region of the Chinese Northwest, while other elements – burial rites, for instance – preserved their regional diversity. We suggest that eastern innovations spread partly through channels established earlier within an exchange network of locally produced painted pottery and also in association with local area’s social development. These suggestions are supported by the case study which considers the process of development at the well-known site of Liuwan in the middle reaches of the Huang River Valley, Qinghai Province.

Open access
Reliefs and Symbols at Göbekli Tepe. Records of Early Neolithic Communication

Abstract

The archaeological site of Göbekli Tepe in southeast Turkey has garnered attention over the last two decades thanks to circles of megalithic T-shaped stone pillars dating to the 10th–9th millennium BCE. These stone pillars, which could be considered as representing figures, reach as far as 5.5 metres in height, weigh between 10 and 15 tons and, in many cases, are covered in animal reliefs or geometric motifs. Both the monumentality of the circular structures and their symbolism raise many questions and bring a whole new insight into the life and rituals of early Neolithic societies.

Open access
The Acquisition of Czech Web Resources

Abstract

Since human knowledge has become today an intrinsic part of the online space, an important question has emerged in relation to its preservation for future generations. Given that electronic documents hold the contemporary cultural heritage, the web archives, which seek to collect and store data on a long-term basis, are an irreplaceable source of information for studying the recent past. There is an international debate about how to make accessible the archived web pages and how to use them.

The present paper outlines various approaches to the acquisition and archiving of the Czech web sources, and further on draws attention both on the possibility of data accessibility within Czech legislation in the digital archive of Czech web resources administered by the Czech National Library and to problems related to the provision of metadata.

It examines the role of a curator in relation to electronic resources acquisition and the significance of topic collections containing data which are structured based on predetermined parameters to larger logical units. The article strives to summarize current knowledge and points out some possible approaches to web resources archiving.

Open access
Collective farming in the memories of Czechoslovak agriculture workers

Abstract

The present paper focuses on countryside life after the collectivization of agriculture and on the changes of the work processes there during the so-called normalization (1969–1987). It is based on narrative interviews with the then Czechoslovak agriculture workers conducted through the method of oral history. The research examines everyday life in the countryside through the memories of the interviewed. Their memories recorded through the method of oral history are treated here as an important historical resource for researchers in Modern History.

Open access