Archaelogical Discoveries in the Town Centre
The oldest discovery is an old road that went through today’s square. In the 19th century, Josef Niederle described that ‘the road went through sunken land so deep that when you stood near the church and looked at the road, a wagon full of hay was able to hide in it’. By order of Philipp Joseph Gallas, the road was covered up by the farmers and the today’s square was paved. When the archaeological research took place, the cobbles from different periods were found there, which supports the record in the Niederle’s chronicle. Some of the cobbles were documented and taken apart afterwards. When the square was being paved, these pieces of paving found their place in the new square. They were laid down along a timeline going through the whole square and the brass plates show the year the paving comes from.
A little bit further in Husova ulice (Hus Street), a corduroy road was discovered beneath it. The wooden log structure dated back to at least the 16th century. There were visible traces after the wagons’ wheels on some of the logs and seven horseshoes were found there as well. Part of one of the logs is in the Brána Trojzemí.
Vintage postcards of Horní náměstí show a public water pump standing in front of the town hall. It was destroyed in the beginning of the 20th century, and up until the reconstruction of the square in 2010 there were no remains of it.
During the archaeological research, after the cobbles were removed, two cracked sandstone blocks were discovered together with the hole in them where the pump used to be. After removing the blocks, it was apparent that the whole well with the sandstone wellhead is well-preserved. The body of the well was made from conglomerate, basalt and sandstone rocks. It was more than 6 metres deep, and the water surface was four metres deep from the surface of the ground.
Records about a reconstruction of the well date back to 1655. It was preserved as an interesting sight on Horní náměstí. It is protected by glass panels so it is possible to have a look at it.
Next well-preserved well which is approximately 300 years old is in the cellar of the house No. 71 on Horní náměstí (Brána Trojzemí).
St. Anne’s Baroque Column
The St. Anne’s Baroque column was built on Horní náměstí in 1714. Local people kept their promise they had given during the plague. It did not survive until today; it was taken down during WWII – supposedly because of the bad structural stability. It vanished afterwards and nobody knew the place it was moved to. Until the reconstruction of the square, only a sandstone plate 80 x 80 cm in size reminded people that the column existed. The plate was placed into the pavement facing out.
The foundations carried a sandstone block that had inscriptions carved in cartouches on each side. The cover plate lay on the block and the column foot from which a smooth shaft with decorative rings on both ends went up. The sculpture itself pictured St. Anne with baby Christ in her arms and standing Virgin Mary next to them.
During the reconstruction of the square, the extant parts of foundations were placed back. The column with the sculpture should be renewed in 2017.
The Grave of the Vampire Tobias
A grave was discovered during the archaeological research in 2010, which aroused a couple of questions some of which will most probably never be answered. The place of the grave is marked on the paving in Kostelní ulice (Church Street) leading from Horní náměstí (Upper Square).
A male skeleton was buried unconventionally on his abdomen i. e. facing the ground in the grave which was approximately half a meter behind the cemetery wall (but still within the premises of the cemetery). Next to his left palm there were four silver Prague groschens dating back to the reign of Jan Lucemburský (king of Bohemia), and a fist on the right hand. Stones lay by his head and feet. Although the grave was quite shallow (app. 30 cm underneath the street surface), the skeleton was well-preserved.
We know that outside the Christian cemetery premises the people who were excommunicated, not christened, Jews, Protestants, various law-breakers, people accused of witchcraft, suicidal people, murdered and killed people, strangers and people with mental and physical disabilities as well as found and unknown people were buried there. Why was the man from Hrádek, who was given the name Tobias, buried like that?
The remains of the man were examined by several scientists from various fields. We know now that Tobias was heavy built, approximately 170 cm tall and he died sometime in April or May most probably at the age of 51. We also know that he did not eat pork. The DNA samples, which were from his thighbone, confirmed that the gender was male. Nowadays, the genetically related people use a genus name Tobias, and that is why the remains of Hrádek’s mysterious man got this name. The haplotype Y-chromosome was found and therefore his origin can be traced to present-day Albania. From the accessible data the potential look of the man was made. We also know that Tobias did not live in Hrádek for most of his life. If he lived in Bohemia, it was most probably in the Vysočina region.
That is all from the scientific experts’ reports. However, none of them can answer the question what happened in Hrádek back in the 14th century. According to the unconventional way of burial, which could mean that people wanted to prevent the dead man from getting out of the grave, the man must have been denounced a vampire or an undead.
The remains of the man may be seen in the cellar of the Brána Trojzemí Museum in the exactly same position as they were found.