The Laboratory of Biological and Molecular Anthropology is interested in the anthropology of living humans and the study of historical skeletal finds. The LBMA staff is a multidisciplinary team of experts whose focus reflects current trends in physical anthropology. We provide research and analysis of historical skeletal material from field recovery of finds to data evaluation, consultation with archaeologists and historians, interpretation of results, and publication in scientific journals or monographs.

For the anthropological evaluation of skeletal material, there is an osteological laboratory with a full range of anthropometric instrumentation, an X-ray machine, a skeletal material washroom and documentation facilities available. The skeletons are reconstructed, and basic anthropological assessment, i.e. age of death, sex and height of stature, as well as enthesopathy, palaeopathology, dental anthropology and the determination of anthropometric measures and indices are assessed. Anthropological analysis is followed by other specialized methods, especially the application of genetic ones.

Throughout its history, the LBMA has been involved in a number of research projects and has established collaborations with a wide range of other research institutions.

  • Prehistory

The key projects from the prehistoric period that have been carried out in the LBMA are anthropological research on the largest burial site from the Bell Beaker Culture in Hoštice na Hané, accompanied by selected genetic analyses. The results have been published as a monograph.

Another research dating to the same period is based on findings made in the village of Popůvky (10 km from Brno). Thanks to the helpfulness of the MZM staff who carried out the fieldwork, samples for aDNA analysis were collected directly in situ.

Other recent investigations include the Hroznová Lhota site dated to the Únětice culture, specifically to the Nitra culture. The burial site found during the construction of infrastructure for the construction of new houses is rich in archaeological finds. Extensive genetic research is currently underway after anthropological evaluation of the skeletons.


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  • Great Moravia and the Migration Period

The most frequently analysed samples are dated to the early Middle Ages, specifically to the period of Great Moravia. In 2007, a large burial site was discovered in Znojmo - Hradiště, with over 500 skeletons, on which a complete anthropogenetic research was carried out, supplemented by microscopic and DNA analysis of dental calculus, palaeopathology, analyses of mitochondrial DNA, etc.

Modern era, research of ossuaries and isolated graves

  • Modern era

Within the framework of the modern finds and skeletal collections, one of the most extensive projects that LBMA experts have tackled is the research of the ossuary of St. Jakub in Brno, which is the second largest ossuary in Europe. The fieldwork, i.e. in the area of the ossuary under the church of St. Jakub on Jakub Square, took place in 2010. It was followed by anthropological analysis of the assemblage and paleopathological evaluation. The ossuary is nowadays accessible as one of the main tourist destinations in Brno. More information here.


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Research of the House of Dietrichstein from Mikulov in Moravia

Field research was carried out in 2000-2001 and 2003 in the family tomb in Mikulov. A total of 12 members of the family were anthropologically examined. The research was carried out in cooperation with the Mikulov Municipality, the Regional Museum in Mikulov and the Mikulov Archives.

The entire research was summarized in a monograph Drozdová E. 2006: Dietrichsteinové z Mikulova. Výsledky antropologického výzkumu vybraných příslušníků rodu. Masarykova univerzita.

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Research on members of the Larisch - Mönnich family from Karviná

The research was carried out in 2005 in cooperation with the Institute of Heritage in Ostrava. The dispersed bones and skeletal remains of open coffins in the Karviná tomb were examined.

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Research of skeletal remains of the Šternberk family

Research of skeletal remains of the Šternberk family buried in the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Šternberk. These were the secondary burials of the skeletal remains of Bishop Albert of Šternberk and his nephew Petr with his wife Anna Rebeka née of Kravaře. The research was carried out by the Archaeological Centre in Olomouc in 2000.

Research on the skeletal remains of US Air Force Lieutenant William Kiggins

Research of the skeletal remains of US Air Force Lieutenant William Kiggins, shot down in 1944 over Brno. The research was carried out in 2007 and is published in the book Koukola I. (ed.) 2007: American deep-sea fighters over Brno (discovery of P-51B Mustang wreckage near Brno - Slatina). A commemorative publication published on the occasion of the unveiling of the monument to Army Air Force Lieutenant William L. Kiggins in Brno - Slatina on 13 October 2007 with the support of sponsors.

Research of the skeletal remains of the Princess of Žuráň

The Žuráň burial mound dating back to the time of the Migration period is better known to the public as the place from which Napoleon Bonaparte directed the Battle of Austerlitz. Archaeological excavations were carried out here in 1948-1950 by Josef Poulík, who found, among other things, two shaft graves. The skeletal remains from these graves were never anthropologically processed and lost. The skeletal remains from grave II were accidentally discovered in 2006. Since then, research has been ongoing.

Excerpt from the research

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