Professor Klápště’s Research Wins Recognition Abroad

Recently, the early medieval fortified settlement in Královice near Prague and the vanished village Hol in the Klánovice forest have been mapped by archaeologists in great detail. The results of their fieldwork in this and other localities and their long-term research have been summarized and published as a monograph entitled Proměna českých zemí ve středověku (The Transformation of the Bohemian Lands in the Middle Ages). The prestigious publishing house Brill (Boston) has decided to publish an English version of the monograph, in order to make it available to international readership. Apart from a number of reviews in prestigious journals, the monograph has received a special prize from the University of Ohio. This year, the author of the book and the leader of the research, Professor Jan Klápště, was awarded the Grant Agency Chairman’s Award for the international scope of his research and extraordinary research outcomes.

„Modern archaeology no longer works with excavations only. It also combines a number of non-intrusive approaches which do not affect the terrain,“ explains Jan Klápště from the Department of Archaeology. „For example, we use the so-called ecofacts in cooperation with natural scientists, which means that we study remnants of plants, bones, and wood. Thanks to dendrochronology, which is a method of dating the age of wood, we could establish with reasonable accuracy, by means of analyzing wooden remnants found in the Královice hillfort, that the fortification was made some time after 918. Thanks to this interdisciplinary cooperation, we know for certain that we are dealing with the reign of St Wenceslas or Boleslav I.“

The early medieval hillfort in Královice (Prague) was founded approximately in the first half of the 10th century, during the reign of the first Přemyslid rulers. In terms of expanse, it was similar to the Prague Castle and Vyšehrad. Archaeologists did not perceive it as particularly interesting for a long time, as it has no connection to known historical events. Recently, archaeologists have collected ceramic fragments in the hillfort and land surveyors have prepared a detailed map of the locality. Afterwards, archaeological survey was carried out in the outer fortifications and the supposed core of the hillfort where a number of settlement objects have been discovered.

Another locality was discovered in the Klánovice forest where a village called Hol used to stand in the High Middle Ages. Nowadays, it is recognizable only through distinct surface contours. Thanks to efficient geodesic and topographic survey, archaeologists have gained a clear idea about the expanse of the village. It used to consist of 24 settlements and was 400 metres long. Its founders, the Prague patricians of the Rokycanský family, have been identified in written period sources.