Replicas of prehistoric stone axes with which experimental archaeologists from Archeopark Všestary cut down a tree, March 13, 2023, Hradec Králové.
Hradec Králové – It took almost half an hour for experimental archaeologists from the Všestary Archeopark to cut down an oak with a diameter of 21 centimeters. While working in the forest on the outskirts of Hradec Králové, three people took turns, they used replicas of stone axes that were used in Hradec 6,000 to 7,000 years ago. Today's event is part of a long-term program of experimental archaeologists of all ages, which is intended to help better understand the technology of stone drill axes production and their use. The director of the archeopark, Radomír Tichý, told ČTK today. The tree for today's felling was provided by foresters from the Municipal Forests of Hradec Králové.
Cutting down a tree with replicas of prehistoric axes was not much different from felling with an ordinary axe, a ČTK reporter found out on the spot. The gradual involvement of stone axes is part of the experiment.
“We felled the oak with the help of replica stone drill tools in exactly 29 minutes. Since we have done felling with similar tools in the past, we can say that the time fits into the framework that we expected from it. There is not a big time difference compared to felling with a classic ax, they had we would have done it about ten minutes earlier. We are getting more and more into what role the weight, size, shape or width of the blade plays in the work. We are bringing back into practice the technology, the way of working, which was common in Hradec 6,000 years ago,” Tichý told ČTK .
Today, they brought ten stone ground axes with hatchets made in the archeopark in the last six years to the Hradec forests. Eight have a hole drilled for a hatchet, two do not, as they are replicas of prehistoric adzes. The area between Hradec Králové, Jaroměří and Hořice is rich in finds of ground stone tools from the Neolithic.
“All axes are made in the Neolithic from the most commonly used stone in our area, namely metabasite of the Jizerské hora type. Sandstone from the vicinity of Hořické chlum was used as grinding wheels. The mining of the raw material itself took place in the Jizerské hory region,” Tichý told ČTK.
< p>The program, which has unexpectedly branched out over the years into other areas related to ground stone tools, aims to increase awareness of this Early and Late Stone Age phenomenon and to describe the manufacture and use of these tools. In the future, visitors to the archeopark should have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the findings of veteran experimental archaeologists in the planned exhibition.
“Thanks to the experiment, we come up with an alternative hypothesis, for example, that the settlements from the Neolithic period in Hradecka probably did not only have factories for the production of these stone tools, but that they were repaired there on a large scale, i.e. that it could have been specialized repair shops within these settlements. At the same time, we are trying to come up with why there is such a concentration of housing estates with findings of these tools,” said ČTK Tichý.
According to Tiché, the scale of the experiment related to Neolithic ground stone drill tools made of metabasite is unprecedented in the Czech Republic. Last year, with the help of replicas of prehistoric tools, they made a vessel over 11 meters long for the Monoxylon IV sea expedition. Experimental archaeologists will try to cross the Aegean Sea on it from mid-June to mid-July.
“The exhibition being prepared in the archeopark has an important connection with woodworking in the Neolithic. We also used replicas of ground stone tools from metabasite in the production of a boat. During the program, we tried almost everything, from tool making to felling, woodworking to making things, in our case, specifically monoxylon, i.e. a boat made of one piece of wood,” Tichý told ČTK.
During the program, they record everything so that they can compare the rate or mechanism of wear of stone axes during various activities with traces of wear on the original tools.
Monoxylon IV will follow the maritime expeditions of experimental archaeologists in dugout boats from 1995, 1998 and 2019. Their goal is to get an idea of what agricultural colonization looked like in the Neolithic 9,000 years ago in the Mediterranean.
The Archeopark in Všestary will undergo a transformation for more than 32 million within three years, the Královéhradecky Region will be the investor. It is planned to expand the cinema hall or permanent exhibitions, which will present the results of surveys from the D11 highway, the Monoxylon maritime expedition or the aforementioned experiments with ground stone tools. “We want to go deeper than the form of when a stone tool will be displayed in a showcase. We want to present the entire process, from production to the use of these tools,” Tichý added.