Cooperation with non-life sciences at the beginning of Czech archaeology


  • Karel Sklenář Vinohradská 34, CZ-120 00 Praha 2



Bohemia, history of archaeology, early Quaternary geology, Palaeolithic discoveries, petroarchaeology, chemical analysis, J. E. Vocel


The article traces the beginnings of the relationship between Bohemian archaeology and the non-life sciences starting in the 1830s. While cooperation with mineralogy and petrography was unilaterally limited to the use of experts to identify the raw materials of polished stone industry for descriptive records and the initiative at the beginning of the study of Quaternary deposits from the 1840s (and of the Palaeolithic from the 1850s) came, on the other hand, from natural scientists (geologists and palaeontologists) with virtually no active participation of archaeologists, the relationship between archaeology and chemistry, in contrast, developed with bilateral cooperation. It began in the 1830s with the investigation of ‘vitrified forts’ and moved to a higher level in 1847 with the chemical analysis of the composition of bronze artefacts, the initiator of which (as the first in the whole of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time) and partially also an active participant, was the archaeologist Prof. Jan Erazim Vocel. The result of this activity, which lasted until the end of the 1860s, was the classification and chronological dating of bronze artefacts based on the ratio of metals in the alloy; in this sense, Vocel as early as 1853–1855 created a relative chronology that is essentially consistent with today’s state of knowledge. Therefore, on the threshold of the positivist era, he had succeeded in his principle of bringing archaeology closer to the exact natural sciences.


Download data is not yet available.



How to Cite

Sklenář, K. (2015). Cooperation with non-life sciences at the beginning of Czech archaeology. Archeologické Rozhledy, 67(4), 547–593.



Research Article