The vault was sealed up after the last Rozmberk family member, Petr Vok,
was buried there in 1611, and it has remained untouched since then.
It was protected by an old legend warning that he who opens the vault and
disturbs the peace of the late Rozmberk ancestors will be cursed - he will
die within a year, the paper says.
The monastery was occupied by the SS troops during WW2, and later by the
then Czechoslovak communist secret police (StB). However, neither the
Germans, nor StB officers dared to open the vault in fears of the ancient
curse, LN recalls.
Now the archaeologists who want to inspect the Rozmberk vault after 400
years hope to avoid the dreadful curse by using modern "non-destructive
methods" that will enable them to explore the vault without opening it by
The experts will first map the monastery underground by a special radar
system that will provide a precise computer model of the premises,
including architectonic elements. Then they will drill an about
2-centimetre-wide hole into the vault through which a probe with a camera
is to be set down to film the interiors, archaeologist Zuzana Thomova, head
of the research, explained in the paper.
She also pointed out that it was difficult in the past to find out the
exact location of the Rozmberk vault without the modern electrotechnical
devices archaeologists have at their disposal now.
LN adds that the same method was successfully applied during the
exploration of the vault of King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles
IV (1316-1378) at Prague Castle, the former royal residence and the present
The daily also writes that archaeologists apply electronics more and more
frequently as such non-destructive methods, based on geological radars or
magnetic-field research, are more considerate towards ancient heritage.
Changes in the magnetic field helped Czech archaeologists discover Egyptian
tombs in Abusir, south Egypt, a couple of years ago.
After thorough preparations, the radar exploration of the Rozmberk vault is
to be launched next year, LN says.
Asked whether she fears of the legend accompanying the vault, Thomova said
her team took rather more recent allegations connected with WW2 into
consideration. Since the Nazis used to hide stolen artifacts in the Vyssi
Brod monastery, in cannot be ruled out that there are still some wartime
explosives and ammunition in the underground, she added.
This is also why her team will apart from archaeologists and
anthropologists include various technical experts, such as geophysicists.
A period chronicle says the Rozmberks were not buried in coffins, but
seated in armchairs placed in a circle, but current experts consider it
improbable, the paper says.
Thomova stressed that in spite of the old rumours, the archaeologists would
seek nothing sensational in the vault.
"The main aim of the exploration is to gather information not only about
the architectonic developments of the monastery, but also about the history
of burial services in the Czechs Lands. The Rozmberk vault was used from
the the 13th century and if it has never been opened since 1611, its
research may bring a number of significant results," Thomova told the paper.
The Rozmberks, seated in south Bohemia with a five-petal rose on their
coat-of-arms, were one of the oldest and most influential Czech noble
families. Its members occupied important posts at the Royal and Imperial