SAHI - English

The Slovak Archaeological and Historical Institute – SAHI, ranks among the most important Slovak institutes participating in the execution of scientific, archaeological, and popularization projects. SAHI was established on 17 May 2006. Its staff, members, and co-workers participate in various scientific events and symposiums taking place both in Slovakia and abroad, publish studies in several professional periodicals, and cooperate under the auspices of various grants. The Institute prepares extensive editorial activities and scientific conferences with international participation.

Currently, SAHI is the most important Slovak institute executing its own archaeological research projects outside the territory of the Slovak Republic with an emphasis on ancient civilizations.

The Tell Fekheriye Project

From its establishment SAHI, o. z. has, as the only Slovak institute, actively participated in the international research in Syria. In cooperation with the Institute for Near Eastern Archaeology of the Freie Universität Berlin under the direction of Professor Dr. Dominik Bonatz, and in cooperation with the Department for Museums and Antiquities in Damascus under the direction of Abd el- Masih Bagda, SAHI carries on systematic research at the Tell Fekheriye location in Syria in order to establish whether the location is identical to Waššukkanni – the capital of the Mitanni Empire. On five excavation seasons (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011) archaeologists succeeded in reaching Middle Assyrian layers that follow the period related to the Mitanni Empire. A fragment of a cuneiform table containing the name of the city "Aššukani" and many other discovered tables support this, in addition to other finds. Several brick wall and floor remains of a palace building date back to the Middle Assyrian period. The importance of the location during the period of the Mitanni Empire is also supported by the find comprising the massive architectural remains of a palace dating back to the same period. In addition, important layers dating back to the pre-pottery Neolithic, Neo Assyrian, and Byzantine – Roman periods were discovered during the project. Currently, the field work within this project has been suspended due to the unstable situation in Syria.

The Uaxactun Project and other research activities in north-eastern Peten

The study of the Mayan civilization represents another of SAHI’s long-term objectives and the institute has been successfully working on achieving it since 2009. The research itself was preceded by an expedition to countries in Central and North America (Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras). The Institute was granted an excavation license for one of the most significant locations in Uaxactun, which captures the pre – classical and classical periods and the causes of the yet unresolved collapse of the classical Mayan civilization. The SAHI’S research team examined an uncharted area at the location featuring squares, pyramids, and buildings identified as the G group; restored a Mayan ball playing field, and uncovered a smaller reception palace and the two graves of noblemen within the C group, dating back to the late classical period. The systemic work is especially concentrated on the H group (the so called H North Square), where in addition to the central and side pyramids a facade with stairs, lined by a newly discovered monumental mask (approx. 20 m long) dating back to the 2nd – 3rd century AD, is subject to research. A radial pyramid on the Lower Square indicates that it once served as an astronomical observatory and altar for the Sun God cult. The sounding delimited within the F group proved the full-scale chronology of Uaxactun. An analysis of the pottery, a mapping of the entire town of Uaxactun, and the revision of iconography and epigraphy on stelas represent an important part of the project. The thorough restoration of newly discovered monuments represents a substantial task within the project. SAHI has also participated in the research covering another location – Tz´ibatnah, newly discovered by the Institute workers in northern Peten in 2009. This was most probably the most important unidentified Mayan town.

The Budmerice Project

Another systemic archaeological work started in 2010, in cooperation with the Little Carpathian Museum in Pezinok, on a fortified settlement in Budmerice. The settlement featuring triple earthwork – trench fortification represents an important settlement of the Maďarovce culture at the turn of the Early Bronze and Middle Bronze Ages. In addition to the finds testifying to the everyday life of people (pottery, waste pits, whorls, loom weights, bone and antler items, stone grinders, slag, stone mould for bar ingots, dagger tips) the research also uncovered decorative items such as a bronze ring, an earring, a fragment of a bracelet, a metal pin, and a heart-shaped hanger. The skeleton laid in the settlement pit and a four-spike wheel made of clay that probably used to be a part of a cart represent an interesting find bearing a cult significance. The results of archaeobotanical and archaeozoological analyses should provide us with information about the food, cultivated and gathered crops, bred and hunted animals, and the composition of wood types used.

Salvage archaeological research

In order to save monuments and archaeological finds within the territory of Slovakia SAHI carries out salvage archaeological research activities necessary to the preparation of construction and other economic activities within our territory. The institute has executed many such research activities in Bratislava: Bratislavské podhradie – Vydrica, Karlová Ves, Rača, Devín, Dunajská Streda, Nové Zámky, Rovinka, Orava – Mokraď, Orechová Potôň – Lúky, Svätý Jur, the Neštich cadastral area, Stupava, Trnava, Svätoplukovo, Horný Lapaš, Veľké Úľany, Záhorská Bystrica-Krče, and Šamorín. Some of them yielded very interesting finds, for instance, at Devín (Kozičova Street 21) there was an untouched cremation grave dating back to the Hallstatt period (700 – 400 BC) or in Šamorín (a multipurpose structure) where settlement structures of a residential and rural character were discovered, dating back (based on the finds comprising fragments of the Gothic so called Bratislava goblets, Basil glass goblet, both glazed and non-glazed tiles, and stratigraphy) to the period of the High and Late Medieval Age. Traces of prehistoric settlements dating back to the Eneolithic were successfully excavated in Veľké Úľany and Záhorská Bystrica.

The long-term field work within the salvage research of Bratislava – Vydrica (2007-2008) yielded new pieces of knowledge about the Celtic settlement and activities within the territory of Bratislava and the fall of the Celtic oppidum thanks to numerous finds such as amber beads, fragments of coin moulds, human bones, arrow heads, and burnt layers. Here SAHI archaeologists discovered Roman coins, fragments of metal vessels, stamped Roman bricks, and an architectural structure dating back to the Roman period. Among various medieval finds and settlements the 12-meter-long wood-clay building dating back to the oldest Slavic period represented the greatest surprise.

In cooperation with the Orava Museum the SAHI Institute started, in 2008, a systematic research of the main and upper courtyards of Orava Castle. The project was aimed at the detailed mapping of the courtyards’ development, its original terrain, and the discovery of facts confirming or disproving the assumed existence of a wooden village around the castle with equipment. The research uncovered a cultural layer comprising finds of Halstatt pottery and whorls, fragments of Púchov culture, the stone foundations of a Renaissance building, a great amount of Renaissance and Baroque tiles, metal and glass items, plus bones. We succeeded in excavating several structural adjustments to a parish building.

Scientific conferences and representative events
  • 7. 2. 2007 – ceremonial presentation of 2006 SAHI activities at the Carlton Hotel
  • 19.-20. 6. 2007 – expert colloquium “Anniversary of the Battle of Bratislava” on the occasion of the 1,100th anniversary of the Battle of Bratislava and the first written mention of the capital of the Slovak Republic; the colloquium took place on the SUZA premises, Bratislava
  • 13. 3. 2008 – ceremonial presentation of SAHI activities in 2007 held at the Technopol Congress Centre in Bratislava
  • 27. 5. 2011 – international scientific colloquium "Archaeology on Three Continents 2006 – 2011”, at which results of the three archaeological researches executed in Syria, the Tell Fecheriye location, Guatemala –Uaxactun, and in Slovakia – Budmerice, were presented.

  • 2006: Lebanon – Bronze Age, Phoenician, Hellenistic and Roman monuments
  • 2006: Mongolia – from the Prehistoric to Genghis Khan
  • 2007: Petén – following the traces of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures with an emphasis on the Mayan civilizations
  • 2007: Prehistoric and ancient Malta – an expedition focusing on monuments dating back to the Neolithic, Eneolithic, and Bronze Ages, and the Roman period with an emphasis on megalithic structures
  • 2008: Yucatan – following the traces of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican culture with an emphasis on the Mayan civilization
  • 2008: Lower Egypt – an emphasis on monuments dating back to the Old Empire. SAHI’s top representatives: Zoroslav Kollár, Peter Valent, and Drahoslav Hulínek - went on a short expedition to Lower Egypt. Their expedition focused on the Nile delta and important locations around Cairo. The expedition was organized based on an invitation from Peter Zsoldos, the Slovak Republic ambassador to Egypt. The entire undertaking was organized by Jozef Hudec, a Slovak Egyptologist and officer of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Popular scientific journal:
SAHI, o.z. is the publisher of Historická Revue (Historical Review), a popular scientific magazine. The Historická Revue (Historical Review) magazine is the oldest monthly magazine in Slovakia, focusing on the popularization of history and archaeology. It presents:
  • articles on important historical events and personalities who have changed global and Slovak history;
  • contributions in the area of history didactics, presenting the latest knowledge in the area of history teaching;
  • reports on archaeological locations and the most important cultural monuments all around the world;
  • articles presenting the Slovak cultural heritage collected in museums, galleries, etc.

Management team for Historická Revue (Historical Review)
Manager: Mgr. Peter Valent
Editor-in-chief: Dr. Drahoslav Hulínek
Editor-in-charge: Mgr. Eva Hulínková Ťuchová

Scientific journals:
  • International anthology “Trade, Journeys, Inter- and Innercultural Communication in the East and West (up to 1250)” published by SAHI in cooperation with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, and the Cabinet of Oriental Studies at the Slovak Academy of Sciences. Professional editors and compilers: PhDr. Jozef Marián Gálik, DrSc. and Prof. PhDr. Tatiana Štefanovičová, CSc. Bratislava 2006. Language: English.
  • Almanac of the Faculty of Education, Comenius University, Verbum Historiae I. (Bratislava 2008) devoted to the jubilee of Prof. PhDr. Július Bartl, CSc.; studies resulting from the conference Confessionalism in Slovak history held on 24 November 2006. Professional editors and compilers: Prof. PhDr. Róbert Letz and Mgr. Ľuboš Kačírek, PhD. Bratislava 2008. Language: Slovak.
  • Anthology “907 Battle of Bratislava and its Importance to the Development of Central Podunajsko” contains contributions presented at a colloquium of the same name organized by SAHI on the occasion of the 1,110th anniversary of the 907 Battle of Bratislava, which was held on the SUZA premises, Bratislava, on 19 – 20 June 2007. Professional editors and compilers: Prof. PhDr. Tatiana Štefanovičová/Dr. Drahoslav Hulínek. Bratislava 2008. Language: Slovak.
  • Nuevas Excavaciones en Uaxactun I. Temporada 2009. A summary report on the 2009 archaeological research. Editors Prof. Dr. Milan Kováč/E. A. Leiva. Bratislava – Guatemala 2009. Language: Spanish.
  • The book entitled Report on Yucatan Items written by Brither Diego de Landa from the Order of Saint Francis in 1566. The publication is one of the few period sources about the actual life of the Mayan civilization and was the first Slovak edition. The publication was translated and complemented by critical comments by Prof. Dr. Milan Kováč/E. Bratislava 2010. Language: Slovak.
  • SAHI supported, both financially and organizationally, the publication of an international anthology of the Faculty of Philosophy, Comenius University, Bratislava (in Studia Archaeologica et Medievalia, Tomus X): “Analysing Pottery Processing – Classification – Publication”. Compilers: Dr. Barbara Horejs/Dr. Reinhard Jung/Dr. Peter Pavúk. Bratislava 2010. Language: English.
  • “Excavaciones en el Peten Noreste Tz´ibatnah I. Temporada 2010.“ Instituto Eslovaco de Arqueologiá Historia, Bratislava, Eslovaquia. A summary report on the archaeological research carried out by SAHI in 2010. Editors Prof. Dr. Milan Kováč/Dr. Ernesto Arredondo Leiva. Bratislava - Guatemala 2011. Language: Spanish.
  • “Archaeology on Three Continents 2006-2011 (5 years of the Slovak Archaeological and Historical Institute – SAHI)“. A summary professional publication presenting SAHI’s activities. It focuses on the projects carried out in Tell Fecheriye (Syria), Budmerice (Slovakia), and archaeological research in the north-eastern part of the Peten region in Guatemala. It was written based on a scientific colloquium of the same name held on 27 May 2011. Authors: Dr. Drahoslav Hulínek/Prof. Dr. Dominik Bonatz/Prof. Dr. Milan Kováč et al. Bratislava 2012/2013. Language: English.
  • “Slovak archaeologists in Syria. A summary covering participation of SAHI workers in the Tell Fecheriye project. The publication focuses on summarizing the participation of the Slovak Archaeological and Historical Institute in the project carried out in Syria with the aim of addressing the professional public in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Author: Dr. Drahoslav Hulínek, Bratislava 2013. Language: Slovak.

Organizational structure:
General Meeting Committee of SAHI:
JUDr. Zoroslav Kollár
Mgr. Peter Valent – chairman
Dr. Drahoslav Hulínek – expert director

Tell Fekheriye Project – head of the Slovak side of the project: Mgr. Drahoslav Hulínek, PhD.
Budmerice Project – head Mgr. Pavol Jelínek, PhD.
Uaxactun Project – head Prof. PhDr. Milan Kováč, PhD.
Scientific guarantor/supervisor – Prof. PhDr. Tatiana Štefanovičová, CSc.

Text written by: Mgr. Eva Hulínková-Ťuchová and Dr. Drahoslav Hulínek