Archaeologists discover world’s oldest tree sign in PragueBy ANI
Thursday, August 13, 2009
PRAGUE - Archaeologists have uncovered a unique 1000-year-old mark engraved into an oak tree near Celakovice in Prague, Czech Republic, which is probably the oldest preserved sign of this kind in the world.
According to a report in the Prague Monitor, the real meaning of the 10-cm star-shaped mark on the oak trunk is not certain. Experts say it may have marked the territory or serve some iconic purposes.
This find is rare as so old engraved signs were not previously mapped and they are not systematically searched for either, said archaeologist Jana Marikova from the Academy of Sciences (AV)’s Archaeological Institute.
Geologist Radek Mikulas, from the AV’s Geological Institute, found the engraved sign by accident when he was searching for the actual age and state of the old oak trunks that were lifted near Celakovice during sand and gravel strip mining.
The mark was engraved into the trunk after the bark was removed from the spot, and this is why its traces were preserved.
Experts estimate that the oaks were standing near the Labe (Elbe) River between 600-800 A.D. and the engraved symbol must originate from the early Middle Ages.
Archaeologist Dagmar Dreslerova points out that the tradition of engraving signs and ornaments date back to the Palaeolithic Era (Old Stone Age).
However, only engravings made on stone, rocks and exceptionally on bones have been preserved, as wood and other organic material decompose with time.
The first written sources mentioning signs engraved into trees to mark land borders and paths come from antiquity. (ANI)