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HN: Americans interested in Czech medieval history

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Prague, Sept 18 (CTK) – A book by Czech archaeologist Jan Klapste about changes in the Czech Lands during the Middle Ages scores success in the USA where it has been published in an English translation and awarded by Ohio University, one of the oldest in the country, Hospodarske noviny (HN) writes Friday.

“This is one of the few books that presents our Middle Ages to the Anglo-Saxon audience,” Klapste’s colleague Ivo Stefan said about the book, The Czech Lands in Medieval Transformation, that was issued by the prestigious Brill publisher’s in Boston.

Klapste, 65, professor of Charles University in Prague who has focused on Czech medieval towns and villages for 40 years, explains that the U.S. interest in the history of the Czech Lands under the reign of the Premyslids (until 1306) is surprising only at first sight.

Actually, the ancestors of Americans and Canadians came from Europe. Consequently, “the cultural distance” is about the same as for Czechs and other European researchers,” he told HN.

In addition, many historians specialised in the European Middle Ages actually work in the United States and Canada, he added.

HN also writes that the Czech Science Foundation recently awarded Klapste, highlighting mainly his “international reputation.”

Most recently, Klapste’s team was exploring an early medieval settlement in Kralovice near Prague and the remains of Hol, a former medieval village on its outskirts, HN says.

Hol is really a treasure of archaeology in the Czech Lands since it is unbelievably well preserved, said Klapste, who is able to present Czech medieval towns and villages in European context, HN writes.

“Researchers from the West started being interested in the Czech Lands only after the [November 1989] Velvet Revolution [that led to the collapse of the communist regime]. Before it, they took interest only in a belt stretching from Norway along the ocean towards Italy,” Klapste said.

Apart from Americans, Irish historians, for instance, are also interested in the history of the Czech Lands where they often go for study trips, he added.

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