An interesting story is behind the skeletal findings uncovered in Devín by the archaeologist Inocent Ladislav Červinka in 1991 and 1992. A church cemetery from the 10th to 13th century was discovered there. The deceased were laying tightly next to one another with their heads oriented to the west as was usual in earlier Slovak cemeteries. However, the later graves were above the earlier ones in irregular directions even in three layers above one another. There were relatively many graves of children found in the cemetery, some of them tiled with smaller stones.
Despite the importance of the finding, the skeletal remains were left for processing for too long, they were moved frequently, and the method of their storage eventually made it impossible to research them in sufficient detail.
The skulls and bones were stored in boxes and several were stored together separated by straw only. From Devín, they were first moved to the Slovak Museum of Local History in Bratislava and then to the Institute of Anatomy of Comenius University. This happened in 1929. In this year, the skeletons were unpacked, and experts have found out that, due to frequent movements, skeletal remains had mixed with each other and it was not possible to reliably assign them to the particular bodies.
They have been analysed by Zdeněk Frankenberger. In accordance with his conclusions, some other nations also lived here with Slavs in the 11th century.
During the research performed by the archaeologist Veronika Plachá, another even earlier grave was found there which dates back to the 5th century, the migration of peoples period. Two young men, one at the age of 13 to 15 and the other at the age of 19, were found in the grave. Based on the analysis of morphological traits, both individuals could be assigned to the Mongoloid ethnic group and as indicated by their resemblance to each other, they were probably close relatives.
For the first time in Slovakia, the blood typing method was applied to the six graves dated back to the 9th century found near the Great Moravian Church. Variety of people living in Devín was thus also confirmed at the molecular level. In fact, eight various haplotypes that were found there were used for reconstruction of the migration of prehistoric men. In this instance, haplotypes of north-eastern German and Finno-Ugric populations, the Eastern Mediterranean, and North-Eastern Europe were found there. However, the haplotype K was found there too, which was confirmed by scientists at Ötzi from the Late Stone Age nicknamed Ice Man who lived here more than 5,300 years ago and whose well-preserved mummy was found in the Ötztal Alps on the border between Italy and Austria.
Text author: Andrej Barát