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ARCHAEOLOGISTS SEEK TO EXPLAIN THE MYSTERY OF A IVORY PYXIS FROM THE 5TH CENTURY

Boy Scouts from the US help with the research of a rare pyxis (video included)

Interesting archaeological research is being conducted in the area where the new R1 motorway will replace the infamous “death road” of Zlaté Moravce between Nitra and Tekovské Nemce. It was just a few hundred metres from here that a pyxis, an oval-shaped jewel box, was discovered in 1974 by a group of local boys. This pyxis is made of ivory and its origin is dated back to the 5th century.

Interesting archaeological research is being conducted in the area where the new R1 motorway will replace the infamous “death road” of Zlaté Moravce between Nitra and Tekovské Nemce. It was just a few hundred metres from here that a pyxis, an oval-shaped jewel box, was discovered in 1974 by a group of local boys. This pyxis is made of ivory and its origin is dated back to the 5th century.

“There are several theories," the head of the Archaeological Institute in Nitra, Matej Ruttkay, told the online newspaper Sme.sk. "One of them is that evangelists Cyril and Methodius brought it. But it could have also gotten here in other ways such as during the Migration Period (also called the Barbarian Invasions) or much later during the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire.”

Boy Scouts from the US who are studying in Vienna and Berlin came to help with the research, accompanied by the Senior Manager of Construction for Sony Europe, Mike Kaiserauer.

“We met during the archaeological research at the site of the Nitra branch of Sony and since then he has been interested in our work,” Ruttkay explained for Sme.sk



The region around the Nitra and Žitava rivers is rich in archaeological findings and this research proves it too, according to Ruttkay.

"The area has unearthed findings from the late Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age, as well as from the Middle Ages. Remnants of buildings from the Great Morava/Veľká Morava period and the Celtic period can be found here, too,” added the director of the institute.

Rutkay added that remains of the oldest houses from one village, unbelievably older than three thousand years, have been preserved because the village had burned down. The burnt clay remnants kept various tracks and prints through which the scientists could determine the construction materials and how these houses were built in the 12th century B.C. According to Ruttkay, it is interesting that the houses probably had several levels but that it is not clear which nationality lived in the area as “they were Indo-Europeans, long before the Slavs came here.”

The motorway is also expected to transect a burial site from the 11th and 12th centuries. “We uncovered 120 graves of women, men and children. By that time it was not unusual to put charity offerings into graves, so the archaeological findings are parts of clothing or hair decorations. Silver earrings and hair decorations were found, as well as bronze rings and jewels, but also unusual silver beads,” said archaeologist Zuzana Poláková. The rare findings also include coins that were put in the mouths of the deceased. This was connected with the idea that “the boatman bringing the dead to the other bank must be rewarded”, Poláková said.


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