VŠERUBY / introduction

Since 2000 the Rescue Excavation Unit, Museum of West Bohemia in Plzeň has surveyed and excavated around the Church of the Holy Spirit in Všeruby. The excavations led by Martin Čechura were supposed to prevent the destruction of cultural heritage in the former Late Medieval and Early Post-Medieval churchyard.

The initial excavations uncovered unique burials of infants. Because of the scientific and cultural potential of these unique contexts, the area adjecent to the northern part of the church was selected for a larger rescued project. Although this area is supposed to be subject to a construction work in the future, the rescue project started early enough to have enough time to apply detailed methods of excavation.     

This project is unique in the Central European persective in several aspects. First, biological athropologists are in the field collecting the data. It is not about removing bones from the record that would get to an anthropological laboratory later. In such situations anthropologists do not have sufficient information about the field context of bones. Taphonomic data is lost and understanding of depositional and post-depositional processes is limited. This project attempts to focus on transformation processes instead of static estimations of sex, age, and body height. The ultimate goal is understanding of mortuary rituals and subsequent decay and manipulation with human body over long period of time. Therefore, we attempt to bridge the Central European gap between archaeology and antropology via focus on questions that can be answered using multiple lines of evidence. This approach is not as common as in the West. Second, this research attemps to test new methods of data collection. Precise field measurements of tiny infant and fetal bones were taken with microscribe, units are photographed, rectified and integrated into GIS environment. Third, this research is unique because of the the focus on detail. We are very slow but measure both artifacts and human bones in 3D that will allow for detailed reconstructions.     

The Všeruby project also offers opportunities for students in the form of summer fieldschool. Since 2003 students of anthropology and archaeology have participated in the project and been exposed to large quantities of artifacts, human bones and bone fragments. This allowed them to improve their skills in excavating, data recording, and anatomical identification of fragments. We are happy that this project is supported by School of Social Sciences, University of West Bohemia within the frame of the program 'Research Methods in Cemeteries'.



2011 /