The find of the century is what Czech archaeologists are calling the discovery of a 7000 year-old statue in Masovice, a village just west of Znojmo, South Moravia. Although only the lower parts of the sculpture have been found, experts say that Hedvika, as the statue has been named by those who discovered it, is a unique find in a European context. On Wednesday, experts from the Brno Archaeological Institute marked a discovery that could change the way historians look at the era of 7 000 years ago, known as the Neolithic Age. During an emergency survey on a building site in the community of Masovice, some 8 km north of Znojmo in South Moravia, they discovered fragments of a ceramic female sculpture. Archaeologist Zdenek Cizmar, who was the first to lay his hands on this unusual find, explains the significance of the discovery. "The sculpture is unique for two reasons; one of them is its size. The fragment we have found is 30 centimetres tall, from its feet to the waistline. We therefore estimate its overall original height to be 55 to 60 centimetres; this means that it is the largest statue of the Moravian Painted Ware culture ever found in the whole Middle Danube Basin". The people of the Moravian Painted Ware culture formed a part of the Neolithic civilization of central Europe in the period between 5000 and 4000 BC and they were particularly distinguished for their pottery skills. Many other figurines have been found in sites across Moravia, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria, but the recently discovered statue is different in yet another way - it is hollow. As Zdenek Cizmar says, archaeologists are still not quite sure why. "We have two possible explanations. It could either be some sort of a technological issue to make sure the statue was easier to dry and burn. It is also possible that the sculpture, which surely served some ritual purposes, could also be used as a vessel to pour liquid from during ritual ceremonies." Following an unwritten rule of their profession, archaeologists from the Brno institute gave the statue the name of Hedvika, as Wednesday was Hedvika's holiday in the Czech Republic. Now the experts are hoping to find the rest of the figurine in remaining parts of the survey zone that are yet waiting to be uncovered and explored. The fragments of Hedvika are currently being studied by scholars from the Brno Archaeological Institute but they promise that next year, it will be displayed at the South Moravian Museum in Znojmo.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
7,000 Year Old Female Icon Discovered
Archaeologists find unique 7000-year-old statue By ČTK / Published 5 September 2008 Masovice, South Moravia, Sept 4 (CTK) - Czech archaeologists have uncovered a torso of a unique female statue created about 7000 years ago near Masovice, which is the second similar find in this locality, Zdenek Cizmar, head of the archaeological research, told CTK Thursday. The woman's statue found in the area last summer was given the name "Hedvika of Masovice," while "her sister" is called "Johanka," according to the female names in the calendar on the days when the artifacts were found, Cizmar added. "Though the statues come from the same period, each of them is different and exceptional," Cizmar said. Both sculptures, created by people of the Moravian Painted Ceramic culture, probably served as idols, symbolising life and fertility. The lower part of the half-a-metre tall "Hedvika" statue is the oldest sculpture of such a large size found in central Europe. The torso of "Johanka," measuring "mere" 35 centimetres, consists of four fragments of the body that were put together. The legs are missing. "It has a realistically shaped face. Distinctive ears with holes are also interesting features. Hands, chest and lap are very well apparent. Moreover, Johanka was completely white," said Cizmar. He added that the statue was polished with a resin base covered with a white colour finish. Masovice is a significant archaeological site where remains of prehistorical settlements as well as a high number of artifacts have been found. Among other rarities from the locality is the "Masovice rondel," of which a double circular ditch with a 110 metres in diameter has been preserved. It served as a ritual place and possibly as a calendar. Czech archaeologists, slightly exaggerating, call it a Moravian predecessor of the famous Stonehange in Britain.
This is what I found on "Hedvika:"
From Radio Praha
Archaeologists in Moravia discover 7000 year-old sculpture
[19-10-2007 13:40 UTC] By Jan Richter