Mystery warrior skeleton used as Nazi propaganda found under castle ‘still clutching sword’ baffles archaeologists

SCIENTISTS are trying to crack the mystery surrounding a 10th century skeleton that was discovered under Prague Castle in 1928.

The ancient remains of a man with a sword and two knives have caused lots of debate in the scientific community and were even used by the Nazis as propaganda when they tried to prove that the castle was Germanic.

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The skeleton was actually discovered in 1928 but is shrouded in mystery[/caption]

A new study published in the journal Antiquity describes the remains and all the theories on who they belonged to.

The skeleton was found beneath the castle courtyard at the edge of an older burial ground.

It was discovered by a man called Ivan Borkovský when archaeologists were trying to find the oldest part of the castle.

However, Borkovský decided not to publish a study about his discovery but when the Nazi’s invaded in 1939 he was accused of not revealing the skeleton as part of a cover up.

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The Nazis used it as propaganda to try and claim that the castle belonged to the Germans[/caption]

The Nazis were said to believe that the archaeologists were conspiring against them to hide that the skeleton belonged to a German man or Viking, rather than a Slavic man.

They wanted the skeleton to be an ancient Germanic man so that they could use it as evidence that German ancestry had deep routes all over the world.

Therefore, the skeleton was used as a form of propaganda to suggest that Prague Castle was Germanic and not Slavic as the Nazis thought this strengthened their claim to taking over Prague and the rest of Europe.

Borkovský did try and publish a book about the discovery of the oldest Slavic pottery found in central Europe but the Nazis threatened to imprison him in a concentration camp if he published it.

The discovery was made by accident
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A study by him was then published a year later but claimed that the Prague Castle remains had German ancestry, reportedly because he was under pressure from the Nazis to write this.

After WW2, when the Soviets occupied what was then Czechoslovakia, Borkovský published a new study about the remains and said that they were “of an important person who was related to the early Western Slav Przemyslid dynasty.”

Now scientists are trying to use new analysis to finally solve the case.

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Prague Castle was occupied by the Nazi’s during WW2[/caption]

A lot of the new study relies on the artefacts around the skeleton such as the sword, axe and fire striker, which were commonly carried by Vikings.

However, the skeleton also had knives and a bucket that had originated in the surrounding area.

Lead author Professor Nicholas Saunders, from Bristol’s Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, said: “A number of studies have recently begun to re-interpret the remains and ours provides a new analysis.

“The goods found with the remains are a mix of foreign (non-Czech) items, such as the sword, axe and fire striker (a common piece of Viking equipment), and domestic objects, such as the bucket and the knives.

“The sword is especially unique as it is the only one discovered in 1,500 early medieval graves so far found in Prague Castle.

“Perhaps he was a Slav from a neighbouring region, who had mastered Old Norse as well as Slavonic, or perhaps he regarded himself as a genuine Viking.

“Identities were complex in the medieval period, and the story of Borkovský and the Prague Castle warrior grave reminds us that the identities of such past people frequently fuel modern political conflicts.”

A brief history of the Vikings

Here's what you need to know…

  • The Viking Age is a period in European history and dates from around 800 to 1050AD
  • Some groups of Vikings did live on for a bit longer after this period in different countries across the globe
  • They originated in Scandinavia and travelled all over the world on their famous Viking ships
  • They are well known for colonising and brutally raiding new areas
  • Vikings created a trade network that spanned the globe and evidence of similar house styles, jewellery, tools and lots of other everyday equiptment can be found in many different countries
  • The Viking Age in Britain ended when the Norwegian king Haraldr harðráði was killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066
  • Vikings are usually depicted as having horns on their helmets but there is only one well preserved helmet from the Viking Age and this does not have horns


In other news, ancient Europeans had skulls squashed into ‘cone shapes’, according to recent finds in Croatia.

The remains of a medieval man who had his skull shattered were recently found buried in a hidden ‘Hall of Bones’ under a UK church.

And, the rare skeleton of woman who “gave birth” in her grave was uncovered in a ghastly medieval coffin in April.

What do you make of the Prague Castle skeleton? let us know in the comments…


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Source: thesun
Mystery warrior skeleton used as Nazi propaganda found under castle ‘still clutching sword’ baffles archaeologists