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Photograph of the excavations at the Habán cemetery in Přibice. Photo credit: Masaryk University

Brno, Aug 18 (BD) – Anthropological and archaeological research at the Přibice cemetery, near Brno, offers unique insight into the lives of members of the Christian Reform Society who claimed to be New Baptists, also known as Habáni . A team of anthropologists from the Institute of Anthropology at the Faculty of Science of Masaryk University is working on the site for the fifth season. The task this season is to find the edge of the burial site, which is the largest Habáni burial site in the territory with 97 skeletons discovered so far.

Using a specific methodology that studies bone composition, scientists will investigate the eating habits of this community. “We want to use the so-called isotopic analysis, which allows us to reveal dietary habits through the trace elements contained in parts of bones and teeth, where trace elements such as nitrogen or strontium have been deposited , depending on what they ate,” said Tomas Morkovsky, head of the research project. Scientists will then compare the results of the analysis with a geological map of Europe and an isotopic database created by French anthropologist Kevin Salesse, who has been working at MU’s Faculty of Science since this year.

“The location of the cemetery, outside the built-up area, offers excellent conditions for discovering it in all its original extent. In fact, Habáni burial sites are often completely destroyed or located in built-up areas. A complete excavation of the entire cemetery is therefore quite exceptional in the context of the search for Moravian Habáni,” Mořkovský added. Also, during the excavation of the burial place, which was attended by students, pins, nails and parts of clothing fasteners – hooks and eyes – were found, which are still in use today.

Scientists will also carry out genetic analyzes of individual bodies, which will provide information on the origin of the Habáni. This population arrived in Moravia from Switzerland and Tyrol in the 16th century and lived in gated communities. They differ from the rest of the population by their way of life (like the first Christians) and focus on the production of quality products. They were excellent craftsmen, excellent tailors, watchmakers and winemakers, and their ceramics were renowned.

According to current estimates by anthropologists, the Habanite religious community once had one of its largest courts in Přibice, with more than 400 inhabitants. Although, according to written sources, they were perceived as “strange” by the other inhabitants of the region, they lived for a long time under the protection of the local nobility, for whom they represented a source of profit thanks to the tribute paid by their property. This coexistence lasted 100 years. After the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, however, the pressure for new Christians to convert or leave the territory increased dramatically and the community was ostracized.

During the Thirty Years’ War, Přibice Manor became a target for conquering expeditions of imperial mercenaries due to its wealth. The largest massacre took place in July 1620, when imperial soldiers killed and wounded 72 Habani, including women and children. The last ambush took place in January 1621. The buildings were burned down and the courtyard was not rebuilt. The survivors emigrated to Slovakia, Romania and Canada, where they settled and still live today. A mass grave remains in Pribice.

https://brnodaily.com/2022/08/18/brno/new-masaryk-university-study-reveals-eating-habits-of-habani-society-400-years-ago/https://brnodaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Cemetery-bones-credit.Masaryk-University.jpghttps://brnodaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Cemetery-bones-credit.Masaryk-University-150×112.jpgIlaria BriziBrnoAnthropology, Archaeology, Brno, Masaryk UniversityPhotograph of the excavations at the Habán cemetery in Přibice. Photo credit: Masaryk University Brno, Aug 18 (BD) – Anthropological and archaeological research at the Přibice cemetery near Brno offers unique insight into the lives of members of the Christian Reform Society who claimed to be New Baptists,…News and events in English in Brno