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Unetice culture


Únětice culture is named after a discovery by Czech surgeon and amateur archaeologist Čeněk Rýzner (1845–1923), who in 1879 found a cemetery in Bohemia of over 50 inhumations on Holý Vrch, the hill overlooking the village of Únětice. At about the same time, the first Úněticean burial ground was unearthed in Southern Moravia in Měnín by A. Rzehak. Following these initial discoveries and until the 1930s, many more sites, primarily cemeteries, were identified, including Němčice nad Hanou (1926), sites in vicinity of Prague, Polepy (1926–1927), and Šardičky (1927).
In Germany, a Princely Grave in Leubingen had already been excavated in 1877 by F. Klopfleisch; however, he incorrectly dated the monument to the Hallstatt during the Iron Age. In subsequent years, a main cluster of Úněticean sites in Central Germany were identified at Baalberge, Helmsdorf, Nienstedt, Körner, Leubingen, Halberstadt, Klein Quenstedt, Wernigerode, Blankenburg, and Quedlinburg. At the same time, Adlerberg and Straubing groups were defined in 1918 by Schumacher.


Recently, the Únětice culture has been cited as a pan-European cultural phenomenon whose influence covered large areas due to intensive exchange, with Únětice pottery and bronze artefacts found from Ireland to Scandinavia, the Italian Peninsula, and the Balkans. As such, it is candidate for a late community connecting a continuum of already scattered North-West Indo-European languages ancestral to Italic, Celtic, and Germanic, and perhaps Balto–Slavic, where words were frequently exchanged and a common lexicon and certain regional isoglosses were shared.


The culture corresponds to Bronze A1 and A2 in the chronological schema of Paul Reinecke:

A1: 2300–1950 BC: triangular daggers, flat axes, stone wrist-guards, flint arrowheads
A2: 1950–1700 BC: daggers with metal hilt, flanged axes, halberds, pins with perforated spherical heads, solid bracelets