The archeological exhibition ‘Travelling Back Through Time – Pardubice in the Prehistoric Era and the Early Middle Ages’ offers a fascinating insight into the early history of the Pardubice region. It is designed for the general public and archeology enthusiasts.
The exhibition concept is based on the famous Czechoslovak sci-fi film ‘Journey to the Beginning of Time’. Visitors travel back through time, beginning the route at a display case which contains archeological finds dating back to the early medieval period, and ending with artefacts from the earliest period of prehistory. There are over 550 exhibits, most of them belonging to the museum’s archeological collection; the exhibits have been specially selected as representative examples of items from each particular period. The curators set out to present typical items made from various types of materials (stone, bone, antlers, copper, bronze, gold, silver, amber and iron) during each phase of the prehistoric era and the Early Middle Ages. Visitors can take leaflets which give basic information on these periods in Pardubice’s history. Each display case has its own tablet giving detailed information on the items displayed. The museum catalogue also contains descriptions of the most typical and rarest items, as well as texts tracing how the region developed during this part of its history. In order to set these developments in their broader historical and geographic context, the archeological finds and details of the local dig sites are accompanied by information on sites of interest in the ancient Mediterranean world and early medieval Europe. This gives visitors a fascinating insight into developments in Greece, Italy, Scandinavia and elsewhere during the same periods.
The exhibition is not merely about archeological finds. It also features models of prehistoric settlements and a crouched burial site from the early Bronze Age. Tablets and screens show videos with replicas of the typical clothing worn by Celtic, Germanic and Slavic tribes. There is also a fascinating reconstruction of a settlement of the Silesian Platěnice culture, which was uncovered at nearby Opatovice nad Labem.
The mid-point of the exhibition’s journey back in time comes in the room where there are installations depicting the cremation burial sites in Pardubice-Hůrka, Lukovna, Kunětice and Uhersko, dating from the later Bronze Age (1250 to 1000 B.C.) and the early Iron Age (800 to 450 B.C.). Researchers have explored these burial sites in the Pardubice region since the end of the 19th century, when members of the Pardubice Museum Association succeeded in rescuing some sites from destruction. The Silesian Platěnice culture – known by archeologists the world over – is named after the nearby village of Platěnice. The first archeological finds at this location date back to the early 20th century, when Professor J. L. Píč from the National Museum led archeological surveys there. The reconstructed graves in this part of the exhibition contain replicas of authentic vessels from the museum’s archeological collection. There is also information on how surveys of such prehistoric sites actually take place, giving a fascinating insight into little-known aspects of archeological work.
In addition to the authentic original items, the exhibition also features numerous replicas and reconstructions – including replicas of pottery vessels, an axe from the period of the Great Moravian Empire, clasps from the La Tène culture and the Roman period, axes from the Hallstatt era and the Bronze Age, and a sculpture of a neolithic goat. There are reconstructions of an Avar sabre, a Slavic helmet and an Avar belt. There is also a fun “sandbox” where children (and adults too) can try out archeological techniques, as well as a fully functioning reconstruction of a weaving loom.