Dog discovers Bronze Age treasure in Kostelec

Photo: ČTK/PR/Královéhradecký kraj

While on a walk with his owner in the northern Bohemian village of Kostelecké Horky, a dog dug up more than 20 unique Bronze Age objects. These have since been analysed by archaeologists and, from Thursday, the pieces are on display at a special exhibition in the local town of Kostelec nad Orlicí.

Photo: ČTK/PR/Královéhradecký kraj
It was a typical March day under the Orlické Mountains and Mr. Frankota was walking his dog, Monty, along one of the fields. Suddenly Monty began frantically digging and when Mr. Frankota came to have a look at what all the fuss was about, he noticed that bronze, sickle like objects were appearing.

Eventually, 13 of the sickles, as well as two spear points, three axes and a number of bracelets were discovered. All are dated to be over 3000 years old.

Martina Beková is an archaeologist working for the Museum and Gallery of Orlické Mountains in the nearby town of Rychnov. She was a member of the team that examined the objects after their discovery.

“The fact that there are so many objects in one place is almost certainly tied to an act of honoration, most likely a sacrifice of some sorts. What particularly surprised us was that the objects were whole, because the culture that lived here at the time normally just buried fragments, often melted as well. These objects are beautiful, but the fact that they are complete and in good condition is of much more value to us.”

Mrs. Beková and her colleagues believe these pieces belong to a group of Indo-Europeans that lived in the region during the late Bronze Age. Their practice of creating large burial grounds, where the deceased were placed in urns, has led to their official archaeological designation as the ‘urnfield culture’.

Mr. Frankota has since received a reward of 7860 CZK from the Hradec Králové Region, which now owns the treasure. The region’s spokeswoman, Sylvie Velčovská, says that the surrounding fields have since become an area of interest.

“Archaeologists have searched the surrounding fields with metal detectors. There were some considerable changes to the surrounding terrain over the centuries, so it is possible that the deeper layers are still hiding some secrets.“

'Journey to the Beginning of Time'
Mrs. Velčovská is also eager to say that the ‘Bronze Age treasure’, as the objects have since become known, is opening up to the eyes of the wider public.

“An exhibition titled 'Journey to the Beginning of Time', opened today in the town of Kostelec nad Orlicí, and the objects will be displayed there from the 13th to the 21st of September.

“After that they will have to go through a conservation process. However, for the long term, we intend to keep them in Kostelec as part of a permanent exhibition in the palace, which houses various archaeological objects discovered in the region.”