1,000-Year-Old Bone Skate Found In Moravian City Of Přerov, Czech Republic

Conny Waters - AncientPages.com - Some of the earliest evidence of ice skating comes from Scandinavia. About 4,000 years ago, people in southern Finland used bone skates to glide on frozen lakes and rivers. These skates were made by attaching animal bones to the bottom of their footwear.

1,000-Year-Old Bone Skate Found In Moravian City Of Prerov, Czech Republic

City of Přerov . Credit: Jirí Komárek - CC BY-SA 4.0

Archaeological findings also suggest that the practice of ice skating dates back to ancient times in numerous other countries.

Archaeologists from the Czech Republic report an interesting discovery that shows how popular ice skating was in the past. While excavating in the city of Přerov, situated in the heart of Moravia, they found a 1,000-year-old bone skate.

According to the Czech Radio, specialists from the Comenius Museum have been conducting archaeological excavations in the basement of a residence situated on the city's Upper Square. During their ‘examination of the soil, they discovered a bone skate that dates back to either the 10th or 11th century.

The bone blade was found amongst pottery produced during the period spanning from the latter half of the 10th century to the initial half of the 11th century, which helped scientists to determine the age of the bone ski.

According to archaeologist Zdenek Schenk, it is highly probable that this ski was crafted from horse bone.

1,000-Year-Old Bone Skate Found In Moravian City Of Prerov, Czech Republic

Schenk shows the 1,000-year-old ice bone skate. Credit: Lenka Kratochvílová, Czech Radio

"The object has a specific shape. On one side, it is curved into a tip which has a hole drilled in it and there is another hole at the back. They were used to thread a strap through, which was used to attach the skate to a shoe or to a wooden sledge.

It dates back to the time when there was a very important fortress in the area of the Upper Square. It served as a stronghold for Polish King Boleslav the Brave, who occupied Moravia at the time and had his soldiers stationed there," Schenk said.

Unlike today, individuals residing in this region a millennium ago did not utilize blades for recreational or sporting activities. Instead, they employed them as a means of transportation during the winter season. Instead of engaging in skating activities, they would glide across the icy terrain aided by one or two sticks. Furthermore, these blades were tied to sledges to facilitate the transportation of goods over frozen bodies of water.

1,000-Year-Old Bone Skate Found In Moravian City Of Prerov, Czech Republic

Credit: Lenka Kratochvílová, Czech Radio

The discovery of an ancient bone skate in Přerov is not an isolated incident. A similar artifact was found in this city in 2009, and numerous others have been excavated throughout the broader region over time. Zdeněk Schenk attributes this pattern to the city's geographical positioning.

The archaeologist also says that comparable findings of "ice skates" crafted from cattle or horse bones have been documented across different regions in Europe.

See also: More Archaeology News

"We know of other similar pieces found in Central Europe and especially in north-western Europe, in Scandinavia. They mostly come from the same time-frame as the one from Prerov and they are often found in 10th century Viking settlements,” Schenk said.

Written by Conny Waters - AncientPages.com Staff Writer