The department is also an important contributor to field archaeology within the meaning of Act 20/1987 Coll. on State Heritage Protection. The Silesian Museum is authorised to carry out rescue archaeological excavations within the Moravian-Silesian Region and the Jeseník District in the Olomouc Region (the historical part of Czech Silesia).
In the field of research and scientific work, the department focuses on complex archaeological issues within its collection area, both theoretically (it deals with prehistoric, medieval and modern Silesia) and practically, i.e. in the field or methodologically (modern non-destructive methods in archaeology, archaeology of modernity or archaeology of conflicts, evaluation of archaeological metal industry, etc.).
Brief history of the department
The Silesian Museum is the oldest archaeological workplace in the Czech Silesia. The museum's archaeological collections began to be systematically built up as early as 1903, when a travelling congress of the Vienna Anthropological Society was held in Opava. During the excursion of the congress participants, excavations were carried out in Holasovice and Úvalno, the proceeds of which became the basis of the museum's archaeological collections. Gradually, the collections of private collectors were also purchased. The first professionally qualified curator was Viktor Karger in 1913-1922; he established an inventory of the collections, which were expanded with finds from his own excavations and the collection of the Museum of the Matice Opavská. His collaborator and successor Gustav Stumpf worked there until 1929. He acquired parts of the archaeological collections of the Gymnasium Museum and the Municipal Museum. He contributed to the knowledge of the settlement of Opava region in the younger Paleolithic and also he led the rescue excavation of the burial site of the Urnfield culture and from the Roman period in Vávrovice.
In 1929-1935 Rudolf Přihoda managed the collections. During the war, Hans Freising and Georg Raschke took over the administration of the collections. The collections were enriched by numerous objects from amateur excavations of medieval castles (Cvilín, Vartnov, Sovinec, Luginsland). Fundamental importance for the archaeology of Opava was the work of Lumír Jisl in 1947-1956. He identified the collections damaged by the war, established a catalogue, revised the collections and founders' reports. He also led several larger excavations - Kotouč in Štramberk hillfort, the Požaha hillfort in Nový Jičín, the Slavic burial mounds necropolis in Stěbořice, the burial site of Urnfield culture in Opava-Kateřinky, the Slavic hillfort of Starý Těšín in Chotěbuz.
Several settlement sites from the Slavic period from the 8th to the 12th century have been found. In Holasovice, the foundations of an early gothic style church and the remains of an older wooden building destroyed by fire were investigated. A number of rescue activities were carried out in the historical centres of Ostrava and Opava. The most important were the excavation of St. Wenceslas Church in Ostrava and the excavation of the area of the Opava Dominican Monastery during its restoration for the House of Arts. Since the 1960s, the method of clay floating has been applied in the excavations, ensuring the capture of even the smallest finds.
In addition to colour photography transferred to permanent colour material, the method of ground photogrammetry was also used for documentation. Markéta Tymonová (2001-2012) took over the archaeological department from Vlasta Šikulová. The field part of the activity was almost completely suppressed and the independent department was gradually integrated into the Department of Social Sciences. In the period 2012-2016 the collection was managed by Pavla Skalická and Hana Kartousová. In 2015, Soňa Králová joined the museum and in 2017 Jiří Juchelka. The Department of Archaeology is gradually emancipating and in 2019 a separate Department of Archaeology was established by separating it from the Department of Social Sciences. Fieldwork is again part of the activities, and extensive excavations are conducted not only within the framework of rescue archaeology, but also within the framework of mapping and systematic excavations using non-destructive methods. The department is currently staffed by two archaeologists, a conservator and four technicians and is equipped with modern instrumentation - GeoMAx Zenith35 Pro GSM-UHF-TAG, DJI PHANTOM 4 PRO+ ground helicopter, Georadar OPERA DUO 2 WHEEL, Minelab CTX 3030 metal detector and inspection camera.
Archaeologists and curators of the archaeological collection of the Silesian Museum
3. 11. 1880 - 18. 2. 1976
Graduate of the gymnasium in Těšín. He studied history, art, archaeology and ethnography at the University of Vienna. He worked in Opava as the first professionally qualified curator in 1913-1922.
5. 3. 1880 - 7. 8. 1962
Born in Nový Jičín, he graduated from the Technical University in Vienna. His interests included archaeology and local history. In 1921-1929 he worked as a curator of the archaeological and numismatic collections of the museum in Opava.
This retired artillery officer with an interest in medieval archaeology managed the archaeological collection in Opava in the pre-war years 1929-1935. He carried out several small field collections in the Opava and Jeseníky regions, which he registered in the collection. In 1930 he registered material from the castle of Rychleby and later the finds from the castle of Cvilín.
18. 1. 1905 - 8. 12. 1977
He was born in Upper Austria. He studied electrical engineering at the German Technical University in Brno. He stayed at the university in the department of mineralogy and geology as an assistant to Prof. Hans Mohr. At the same time he was interested in archaeology and as an associate of the Office for Prehistory in the Eastern Sudetenland he managed the archaeological collection of the Silesian Provincial Museum (then the Reich County Museum) in Opava in 1939-40. He focused mainly on the Pleistocene glaciation of northern Moravia and Silesia and the archaeology of the older Stone Age (Paleolithic).
1903 - 1973
After graduation he studied archaeology and history at the University of Wrocław. He finished his studies in 1928 by defending his dissertation on the Early Iron Age in Silesia. From 1941 to 1943 he was the administrator of the prehistoric department of the Schlesisches Museum in Troppau (Opava). After leaving for the army, his wife Gertrude (also an archaeologist) took over the management of the department. However, the difficult wartime conditions did not allow her to carry out her own archaeological excavations in Opava.
18. 4 1921 - 22. 11 1969
In the first half of the 20th century, he attended the Trutnov gymnasium, from which he graduated in 1940. During his studies, he was particularly interested in mineralogy, but he did not leave aside archaeology either. During the war years, after graduation, he took a job as an insurance officer in Liberec. The turning point in his career was his meeting with Professor Jan Filip, who influenced him so much that in 1945 he entered the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University, where he began studying archaeology alongside art history, comparative religious studies and ethnography. In 1948, in his rigorous thesis entitled Flat cremation graves in Bohemia in the Latén period, he devoted himself fully to archaeology. In 1947 he took up the post of head of the prehistoric department of the then Provincial Museum in Opava. In 1952 he became the director of the museum, but his poor health did not allow him to hold this position for long and in 1954 he was forced to resign. In 1955 he became the head of the Opava exposition of the Institute of Archaeology of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, but in 1956 he finally left Opava for Prague.
11. 1. 1933 - 25. 8. 2020
A graduate of the gymnasium in Tišnov, where she entered in 1945 and graduated in 1951, her mother led her to the path of interest in our history. She applied to Masaryk University in Brno to study prehistory combined with history. After graduation in 1956, she started working in Kyjov, where she stayed until 1958 as the head of the local museum. In 1958, after the withdrawal of Lumír Jisl, Vlasta Šikulová was offered the management of the archaeological department of the Silesian Museum in Opava, where she remained until her retirement in 2001.
She studied at the University in Brno. Her specialization is medieval ceramic stoves. She worked at the Silesian Museum between 2001 and 2012. During her time there, she managed to assemble most of the collection, number it, rearrange it, and after inspection place it in a new depository.
Pavla Skalická a Hana Malíková
They worked at the museum between 2012 and 2015 and during this time they processed a hundred-thousand-piece collection from the Dominican monastery in collaboration with the author of the research, Vlasta Šikulová. Pavla Skalická graduated in archaeology at the Silesian University in Opava, while Hana Malíková ( born Kartousová) studied at Palacký University in Olomouc and Charles University in Prague.
A graduate of archaeology at the Silesian University in Opava, she worked at the archaeological department as a curator of the collection from 2016 to 2017.
He works at the museum as a curator of the archaeological collection from 2015 until today (currently on maternity leave).
Between 2019 and 2023, he worked as a conservator-documenter in the Department of Archaeology. Since 2023, he works as a curator of the archaeological collection.
He works at the museum as curator of the archaeological collection since 2017 and as head of the Department of Archaeology since 2019.