Setting the pace for settlement research

Cutting-edge equipment and state-of-the-art laboratories available at the Department of Archaeology and Museology interdisciplinary centre are frequented by both Czech and international archaeologists. The department's crucial importance for history and culture studies is evidenced by the fact that MU is also the seat of the oldest UNESCO Chair on Museology and World Heritage in the world.

Mapping social structures from Prehistory to the High Middle Ages

We examine how human settlement transformed the landscape, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. We delve into the everyday life of the people and their relationship to the natural environment. Archaeologists work side by side with researchers from the social and natural sciences.

We carry out archaeological and geophysical field research, process findings, provide 3D documentation and analyse and preserve excavated materials. We search for unknown archaeological monuments using magnetometers, ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity and analytical surface collection conducted with the help of GPS and Real-Time Kinematic satellite navigation. Well-known examples of our work include e.g. the discovery of a Great Moravian rotunda in Pohansko near Břeclav.

Our research unit is unique in the Czech Republic because...

  • It was founded in 1930, originally as the Institute of Prehistory. Our research has been ongoing for nearly a century. The UNESCO Chair on Museology and World Heritage, an inherent part of the department, was established in 1994 as the first of its kind.
  • The UNITWIN Chairs Programme connects us with the world's leading research institutes established and supported by UNESCO.
  • The department operates several Czech and foreign scientific expeditions and manages a complex of buildings and laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment utilized by top-notch researchers including several dozen doctoral students.

 

We operate three research stations in the Czech Republic and one abroad

Excavation projects in the Czech Republic are being carried out at Těšetice, Pohansko and Rokštejn/Panská Lhota. Our Syrian expedition to Tell Arbid Abyad was temporarily suspended and relocated to Crete as a result of ongoing armed conflict.

Stone, bone, metal and ceramic findings are analysed and digitized using...

  • optical 3D scanners
  • digital photogrammetry for virtual 3D modelling
  • XRF spectrometers for material analysis
  • kappameters for measuring magnetic susceptibility
  • binocular microscopes
  • optical microscopes with motorized focus and large depth of field for traseological and material analysis – unique in the Czech Republic

Recent developments include...

  • Innovative research into the fundamental questions of early medieval transformations of Czech and Austrian border territories.
  • Continued efforts aimed at describing and understanding the rise and fall of complex early medieval societies in Eastern Europe with respect to the development of neighbouring cultures and subsistence-related land usage.
  • In 2015 and 2016 we issued two internationally acclaimed publications on the development of settlement structures, which also received the MU Rector's Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement.

The research centre is also committed to developing a knowledge base for emergency strategies. Thanks to the centre's activities, future governing bodies will be able to recognize external impulses threatening sustainable growth and development. In the case of a crisis, they will thus be able to make informed decisions in a broader historical context.

We are helping to preserve and document world heritage sites in the Czech Republic and other European countries as well as in the Middle East and Central America.

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