An Archaeological Investigation of Village Desertion During the Thirty Years’ War in Bohemia, Czech Republic
The deserted village of Cetkov lies in woodland close to the town of Zbiroh, in western Bohemia. Cetkov, along with the neighbouring villages of Bukov and Rovný, were founded in the 14th century as a result of medieval agricultural expansion into the forested uplands. All three villages were deserted in the 15th century during the Hussite Wars (1419-1434), but were re-established in the 16th century. The re-established villages were short-lived, however, and both Rovný and Cetkov were once again destroyed by passing soldiers during the Czech Revolt (1618-1620), the earliest phase of the Thirty Years ‘War (1618-1648).
Historical research suggests that the Rokycany region was devastated during the Thirty Years’ War, and that the Czech lands as a whole may have lost up to 30% of their population. The Cetkov project aims to gather archaeological evidence for the impact of warfare on rural communities. In July 2016 the University of Amsterdam team will strip and record the remains of a well-preserved three compartment block house (Czech: Komorový dům). This will be the first open-area excavation of its kind on a post medieval rural settlement in western Bohemia.
The Cetkov Field School in July 2016 is the first season of a three year programme of collaborative archaeological research between the University of Amsterdam, and the University of West Bohemia, in Plzen. The project is funded by the two universities, and by a research grant from the Czech Science Foundation.