|Dr. Karel Valoch at Pod hradem cave|
|A very pretty map showing the whereabouts of Pod hradem cave.|
I had some very powerful personal reasons for travelling there. I was finally going to see the cave that yielded the collection of animal bones I used for my Ph.D. dissertation.* I knew that I would meet Dr. Karel Valoch again after 19 years, who was now 92. Finally, I would again be able to see the family that befriended me in 1992, the same family that nursed me after a classic dissertation fieldwork illness, and which, to my shame, I'd more or less allowed to think I'd fallen off the edge of the Earth.
|Brno, Czech Republic. Capital of Moravia.|
Skalní mlýn and Punkevny cave have been hosting tourists since long before the breakup of the Soviet bloc. However, good old-fashioned entrepreneurs have tarted it up a bit. There was a miniature train on wheels
and a gondola to the summit of the massif.There was an expensive hotel with a restaurant, with a few souvenir shops nearby, a couple of walk-up food bars, and two (!) pay toilets.
|Hotel Skalní mlyn.|
|Macocha Gorge in the early twentieth century, with Chata Macocha atop the escarpment.|
|Chata Macocha, Skalní mlýn.|
|Chata Macocha's Terrace Bar.|
I'll say more about the 2011 Pod hradem project and about my visit with Dr. Valoch and others in another post. For now, I gots ta go ta work!
* 'Taphonomy and Spatial Analysis of a Cave Bear (Ursus spelaeus) Fauna from Pod Hradem Cave, Czech Republic: Implications for the Archaeology of Modern Human Origins.' [I can proudly state that said dissertation became a book that you might just be lucky enough to find in your library. It's been out of print for years.]