The Begining

The Begining

The oldest surviving archeological artefacts from Slovakia date back to 270,000 BCE, the Early Paleolithic Era, and were found near Nov Mesto nad Vhom. These ancient tools were made by the Clactonian technique and are a potent reminder of the ancient inhabiation of the geographical regions known today as Slovakia.

Venus

Venus

Other stone tools from the Middle Paleolithic Era (200,000 - 80,000 BCE) were discovered in the Prvt cave near Bojnice and other nearby sites. Artefacts were discovered dating back to the Paleolithic Stage, include the famous Cranium Mold of a Neanderthal, discovered near Gnovec, a village in Northern Slovakia.

Homo sapien skeletons were also discovered on in this region. Numerous objects and vestiges of the era of the Gravettian culture have also been found, principally in the river valleys of Nitra, Hron, Ipel, Vh and as far as the city of Zilina, and near the foot of the Virhorlat, Inovec and Trbec mountains and the Myjava Mountains. Among the most well-known find is the oldest female statue made of mammoth bone, discovered in the commune of Moravany nad Vhom, near Pieštany, a spa resort known worldwide. Numerous necklaces made of shells from Cypraca thermophile gastropods of the Tertiary Period have been discovered at the sites of Zkovsk, Podkovice, Hubina, and Radošinaare These findings are the most ancient evidence of commercial exchanges carried out between the Mediterranean and Central Europe.

From an archeological standpoint, the discovery of different instruments and objects made of pottery in several archeological digs and burial places scattered across the Slovakian Territory, and even more surprising, in the northern regions at relatively high altitudes, give evidence to human habitation in the Neolithic period. The pottery of Zeliezovce, that of Gemer and of the Massif Bukov hory is characterized by remarkable modelling and by delicate linear decoration, revealing the first attempts at coloring. These shapes reveal a developed of aesthetic sense.

Several caves have also been discovered in Slovakian territory. One is the famous Domnica cave, almost 6000 meters long, which was inhabited down to a depth of 700 meters. This cave is one of the biggest Neolithic deposits in Europe and was inhabited continuously for more than 800 years by the same tribes who created the pottery from the Massif Bukov hory. A witness to the Pre-Neolithic era is the Luzianky group, found near Nitra and also the Lengyel pottery and the group of Bolerz pottery.

The transition towards the Neolithic Era in Central Europe was characterized by the arrival of Indo-European peoples, by the settling of populations, the development of agriculture and the clearing of pastures, the first transformation of metals at the local level, by the "Retz" style pottery and also by fluted pottery. During the 'fluted-pottery' era, several fortified sites were built and some vestiges remain today, especially in high-altitude areas. The most well-known being the Nitriansky Hrdok site, which is surrounded by pits. Starting in the Neolithic Era, the geographic location of present-day Slovakia was dense trade network for goods such as shells, amber, jewels and weapons. As a result, it became an important crossroads of European trade routes.

The Bronze Age in Slovakia went through three stages of development, which stretched from 2000-800 BCE. The most well-known culture of that era was the funeral culture of the Carpathians and that of the middle Danube. During the later Neolithic Age, a considerable growth in cultural regions took place in Slovakia. This phenomena was linked to a large development in local copper manufacturing, especially in Central Slovakia and North-West Slovakia. This metal became a permanent source of enrichment for the local population. After the disappearance of the Cakany and Velatice civilizations, it was the Lusacian people who expanded the building of strong and complex fortifications, the appearance of large permanent buildings and administrative centers, a large growth in trades and agricultural technologies.

The richness and the diversity of the sepulchers increased considerably. Arms, shields, jewelry, dishes and statues were manufactured. Life for the people of Calenderberg who lived in the hamlets located in the plain (Sered) and also in the fortresses located on the summits (Smolenice, Molpr) was disturbed by the arrival of community tribes from the Thrace. The local power of the "Princes" of Hallstatt disappeared in Slovakia during the last period of the Iron Age after the battles which took place between the Scytho-Thracian people and the Celtic tribes, advancing from the South towards the North, following the Slovakian rivers. The victory of the Celts marked the beginning of the later Iron Age. Their reign then disappeared with the Germanic incursions, the victory of Dacia near the Nezider Lake and the expansion of the Roman Empire.

The Roman epoch began in Slovakia in 6 CE., inaugurated by the arrival of Roman legions on this territory which led to a war against the Markoman and Quadi tribes. The Romans and their armies occupied only a thin strip of the right bank of the Danube and a very small part of South-West Slovakia. It was not until 174 CE that Marcus Aurelius penetrated deeper into the river valleys of Vh, Nitra and Hron. It was on the banks of the Hron that he wrote his philosophical work "Meditations."

In 179 CE, the Roman Legion engraved on the rock of the Trencn Castle: Laugaritio, the Roman inscription marking the furthest northern point in Europe.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, this region remained open and was raided by aggressive troops from different peoples, a phenomenon which historiography called the migration of people. The last ethnic groups in Slovakia before the Slavs arrived were the Germanic Goth tribes, pushed to the East by the Huns and the Lombards.