Archaeologists from Masaryk University have unearthed a remarkable bronze belt fitting in the village of Lány, situated in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. This artifact, dating back to the 8th century AD, features a captivating depiction of a snake consuming a frog-like creature—an imagery steeped in Germanic, Avar, and Slavic mythology.
The snake and frog motif is closely tied to cosmogonic myths about the world’s creation, evident at various sites across Central Europe. The interaction between the two creatures is believed to be associated with fertility cult practices prevalent during that time.
This newfound bronze belt fitting provides valuable insights into an enigmatic pagan cult previously unknown to researchers. It is a testament to the cultural connections among diverse populations during the early Middle Ages, predating the widespread influence of Christianity that began in the 9th century AD.
The discovery in Lány belongs to the category of Avar belt fittings, primarily crafted in Central Europe during the 7th and 8th centuries AD. While it is likely that the belt was worn by an Avar, an ethnic group from Northeast Caucasus that settled in the Carpathian Basin, it could also be associated with cultures influenced by Avar practices.
Cutting-edge analytical techniques, including X-ray fluorescence analysis (EDXRF), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), lead isotope analysis, and 3D digital morphometry, were employed to scrutinize the belt fitting. The analysis revealed that the bronze was extensively gilded and cast using a wax model.
The chemical examination of lead isotopes in the bronze alloy suggests that the copper utilized in production originated from the Slovak Red Mountains. Furthermore, morphometric analysis indicates that some fittings likely came from the same workshop.
The results of this groundbreaking study have been documented and published in the esteemed Journal of Archaeological Science. This discovery not only enriches our understanding of ancient pagan practices but also sheds light on the intricate cultural interconnections that thrived in Central Europe during the early medieval period.