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Settlement and Burial Ground in Žírovice 

The locality is freely accessible. It should be noted, however, that it is somewhat hidden in the woods near the village of Žírovice. The spa town of Františkovy Lázně is within sight, less than two kilometres away. The green-marked tourist path will lead you almost to the site. The tourist path leads along a narrow road between two ponds. The site is located approximately 700 metres northeast of the village of Žírovice above Mlýnský rybník (Mill Pond).

The first findings, which have not been preserved to our time, were allegedly found in 1880 although the burial ground was later partially destroyed by sand mining. Research of the site commenced after 1929 when a spa guest from Prague found the first ceramic vessel buried at a depth of 50 centimetres in the area of the sand pit and reported his finding to the Director of the museum in Františkovy Lázně, Alois John. Presently, research of the burial ground began under the supervision of Anton Gnirs from Loket. Further research was carried out by an amateur archaeologist and secondary school teacher Josef Gustav Hiersche between 1930 and 1944 and subsequently by Evžen Plesl from the Archaeological Institute in Prague in 1957 and 1958. The remains of two main circular tumuli and a number of smaller urn graves with traces of stone lining were discovered on a rectangular area with dimensions of 45 x 37 metres.

Following subsequent research, a total of 50 graves were recorded. The eastern tumulus with a diameter of 5.3 metres has elliptic granite rock lining. The grave is placed in the middle with an oblong stone rim oriented along an east-west axis. It is 2 metres long and 1.5 metres wide. The grave was covered by a mound, which, unfortunately, has not been preserved. The tumulus was probably dug out from the north and looted, as the only items found were several earthenware and bronze fragments, and flint. It must have been a grave of a person of major importance who had been buried with a wide variety of accessories. Another stone wreath is located west of the main grave. A large number of stones are scattered across the burial ground, nonetheless, it is not possible to determine whether they were a part of the stone wreaths or the lining.

In all probability, they are ordinary flat graves. In the past, the burial ground was damaged by grubbing and sand mining in the pit, which penetrated into the area of the main tumulus. Among the pottery finds we ought to mention trenchers, i.e. double conical urns with a conical upper part and a funnel lower part. Trenchers accompanied urn fields from the end of the Middle Bronze Age. They appeared in the Middle Danube Tumulus Culture and traditional shapes can be found particularly in Lusatian Culture. The urns contained a mixture of sand, bones, and pottery. They often contained other vessels or their fragments.

Particles of heat-molten bronze, a bronze ring fragment, bronze jewellery, a bracelet, a part of a spiral and a bronze bolt were found in some of the urns at various places on the burial ground. A settlement was unearthed in the close vicinity of the burial ground to the great surprise of the archaeologists. It was situated east of the burial ground on a sandy hillock and spread up to the Mill Pond. Twelve sunken fireplaces filled with wood coal up to the depth of half a metre were discovered on the site of the settlement. In addition to the fireplaces, pits approximately one metre deep were also unearthed on the site. They were also filled with wooden coal and potsherds.

Potsherds were found all over the settlement area, some of which were up to four centimetres thick. Further findings included bottom parts of earthen colanders, crushing stones from grain crushers, a stone and a bronze bolt, as well as a larger quantity of earthen pinnacles. Only scarce traces remain of the dwellings and we therefore believe that they were surface structures built from wood with the use of the slot method. Waste pits were a part of the settlement, as well as pits for storing grain or large vessels embedded in the ground. With a view to the discovered findings, the settlement represents an open agricultural settlement.