Máireg Béan Ó Conchubhair Fáilghe

Býčí skála Cave

Býčí skála Cave (in Czech Býčí skála, in English The Bull Rock Cave) is part of the second longest cave system in the Czech Republic. It is also famous for archaeological findings.

The cave is located in the central part of Moravian Karst, in Josefovské Valley (Josefovské údolí) between the town Adamov and village Křtiny. Together with the cave system Rudické propadání Býčí skála forms the second longest cave system in the country after the Amatérská Cave. Its known length is over 13 km.

The entrance to the cave was always known. First written mention comes from 1669. During 1867-1873 the part named Předsíně was explored by archaeologist Jindřich Wankel who discovered a Paleolithic settlement from around 100,000 - 10,000 BCE.

Later, a statuette of a bronze bull was found and starting in 1872 a large Hallstatt culture site had been excavated. The site contained animal and material offerings, crops, textiles, ceramic and sheet-metal vessels, jewellery, glass and amber beads.

According to Wankel skeletons of one man and 40 young women were found. Some women were beheaded, some missing legs or hands. On a small "altar" a skull and cut hands were placed. Wankel's romantic interpretation was that he discovered a grave with a nobleman accompanied by ritually killed women.

Other theories suggest massacre of people hiding in the cave during a war or explosion of a gas or dust. Later research identified 17 skeletons as men; the people ranged from children up to 50-60 years old.

In 1920, when water was pumped out another cave was discovered, the "Nová býčí skála" (The New Bull Rock Cave), with a Jedovnický brook (Jedovnický potok) running through it.

During World War II Nazis build an underground factory in the cave, damaging the entrance part. After the war few more caves has been discovered (Sobolova (Barová), Májová, Prolomená and Proplavaná). In 1992 exploration of the brook was completed.

The cave contains a Neolithic picture, currently the oldest cave painting known in the Czech Republic. It depicts a geometrical shape resembling a grill with a size of 30x40 cm, painted by coal on the cave wall. The carbon was dated with the C14 radio-carbon method to be 5,200 years old. The pattern resembles decorations on some ceramic vessels from that period.

Except for the entrace the cave is not accessible to the public. Infrequently it gets opened for the visitors (the next term is in May 2007).

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