CRL laboratory has dated the wooden box relic from the Monastery of Milevsko

23. 12. 2020


The CRL laboratory, operated by the Nuclear Physics Institute of the CAS and the Institute of Archaeology of the CAS, Prague, has dated fragments of larch and oak wood recently found together with a golden plate and a part of an iron nail with a golden cross in a secret corridor of the former Monastery of Milevsko.

The dating result of the oak and the circumstances of the find place led archaeologists to the conclusion that in the Middle Ages the iron nail was probably considered a relic from the cross of Christ and had been hid in the 15th century just before the Hussite troops looted the monastery.

While the larch wood dates to 1290-1394 AD, darker oak wood, which might have been a part of the wooden box relic, has been dated by the CRL to 338-416 AD. Up until now, however, it has not been possible to take a sample directly from the part connected with the golden plate with a carved cross and the letters IR (probably initials that stand for "Iesus Rex") which apparently formed the lid of the box. Therefore, we can be sure of the correctness of the age of the box’s material only after conducting a more detailed non-destructive research in the future.

The analysis of the research samples was financed by RAMSES project of the CRL. A method based on accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) was used for the 14C analysis and the actual measurement was performed in the Hungarian AMS laboratory of the ATOMKI HAS institute in Debrecen. After the completion of the AMS laboratory on the premises of the NPI in Řež as part of the RAMSES project, we will be able to perform these measurements in our country as well.

Details on the finding can be found at

The event caught considerable attention of media, as you can see (in Czech), for example, here and here.

Photo: mARTin Frouz,