Paleolithic stone with engraving of mammoth and horse discovered in Ostrava
Archaeologists from the Moravian Museum in Brno have announced a unique discovery. During a survey near the city of Ostrava they discovered a stone with an engraving of a mammoth and a horse, which dates back about 15,000 years ago. According to experts, the artefact has immeasurable historical value.
The engraved black stone, which measures roughly five by seven centimetres, was discovered at the archaeological site Holý vrch near the village Hošťálkovice on the outskirts of the Moravian-Silesian capital of Ostrava. It depicts a mammoth and a horse on a river mound.
Zdeňka Nerudová, curator of the Centre for Cultural Anthropology at the Moravian Museum, says the stone was most likely brought to the site by prehistoric reindeer and horse hunters, who found it in the gravel of the Odra or Opava Rivers.
“Stone is a fairly durable material that can survive almost anything. At the same time, it is relatively soft, so it was possible to carve into it with another stone, most likely a flint stone, thanks to which the engraving survived until the present day.”
According to Mrs Nerudová, archaeologists deduced the age of the discovery from other finds that have survived in the immediate vicinity. Using the technique of radiometric dating, they will be able to establish its age more precisely.
Nevertheless, some information, including who made made the stone etching and why will probably remain a mystery, she says:
“We will probably never know who exactly created the engraving, whether it was a man, woman, or child. Nor do we know exactly what purpose the engraving served, whether it was made for some ritual purpose or just to pass time. We will probably never be able to answer these questions.”
Mrs Nerudová says that while similar engraved stones are discovered on the territory of Czechia from time to time, it is still a very unique find of immeasurable historical value:
“This type of discovery, that is an engraving of an animal on a stone tablet, was last made in Czechia around 60 years ago, so it is a rather unique find.
“When we look at a wider territory - Central Europe, Germany, France and Spain, such finds are a bit more common. But to be honest, I would say it is quite unique even on that scale.”
After undergoing further analysis, the unique stone carving of a mammoth and a horse will be displayed at the Moravian Museum in Brno in two or three years as part of an exhibition dedicated to recent archaeological discoveries made in Czechia. It might also go on display in the village of Hošťálkovice, the place where it was discovered.