Pugliaindifesa Historical monuments 1,000-year-old bone skate found in Czech Republic

1,000-year-old bone skate found in Czech Republic

1,000-year-old bone skate found in Czech Republic

Archaeologists have discovered a 1,000-year-old bone skate in the basement of a house in the central Moravian city of Přerov, Czech Republic. The skate was made of animal bone, likely the metacarpal (shin bone) of a horse. Fragments of pottery found around the blade date it to the 10th or 11th century.

Archaeologists from the Comenius Museum made the discovery during a rescue excavation in the Upper Square of the city. At the time when the skate was made, the Upper Square area was on a hill overlooking the left bank of the Bečva River. There wasn’t a city of Přerov yet, but rather an agglomeration of small settlements dotting the branches of the Bečva. The Upper Square was first a fortified square and then a fortress built by Polish King Boleslav the Brave after his conquest of Moravia in 1003.

Archaeologist Zdeněk Schenk:

“The object has a specific shape. On one side, it is curved into a tip which has a hole drilled in it and there is another hole at the back. They were used to thread a strap through, which was used to attach the skate to a shoe or to a wooden sledge.”

1710736804 136 1000 year old bone skate found in Czech Republic | PugliaindifesaThe hole was pierced through the end of the lower end of the metacarpal that connected to the phalanx bone (ie, the toe). The surface of the bone is still polished after a thousand years, suggesting it saw significant use. It is small so was worn by someone with petite feet, perhaps a woman or child. It could also have been mounted under a transport sled instead of a shoe.

“Rather than skating, they would shuffle along the frozen surface with the help of a stick or two. They would also attach the blades to sledges to carry a load of goods across the frozen water.”

1710736804 836 1000 year old bone skate found in Czech Republic | PugliaindifesaSimilar ice skates made from animal bones have been found in other parts of central and northwestern Europe. They typically date to around the same time — 10th or 11th century. Far older examples dating back 3,500 years have been found in China.

The bone skate will go on display at the Comenius Museum in Přerov Castle.

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