Porta is a gateway. A gateway to the understanding of the past of Moravia and Silesia.

Due to historical events, some purely geographic names have taken on unique meanings which can replace dull accounts in thick historical books (in France, for instance, it is the chateau Loire valley or Provence region), and the interest in knowledge of their history amongst people is rather natural. The same process can be observed on the territory of the Czech Republic.

Porta Moravica or Moravian gatewayrepresents a very unique territory. It arose at the end of the Tertiary, and in the Quaternary it was covered by the northern glacier. It stretches on the area of 534 km2 from the valley of the upper Moravia River to the Ostrava basin and belongs to the watershed of the Baltic and Black Sea. It formed a trail of a European importance where history was literally walking. It also was a part of the famous Amber Trail, named after fossilized resin.

For geologists, it is easy to describe Porta Moravica. For archaeologists or historians, it is not. Human history is too vast and complex. Thus it is not enough to conduct research on the D47 construction site only, study local archaeological inventory, include historical points and finish with one or two reports on finds. Research of a larger scope is needed. And such research cannot be financed by the construction investor only. It is necessary to contact and involve more people. Therefore, the PORTA MORAVICA project was born.

The objective is to present issues that are new to both the public and archaeologists and to offer unusual insights into the life in the past on territories affected by large constructions. The project wants to show that the life in the past was more varied, colourful and dynamic than we think and that people today search for knowledge and abilities which were natural to our ancestors.

- Porta Moravica and surrounding areas (the scope depending on the character of investigation)
- to continue in investigations conducted on large construction sites (motorways, roads, engineering networks, industrial zones, etc.)
- to study the development of prehistoric, medieval and modern settlements in a broader context
- to collect all data available (including those from private collections, local chronicles, and alike)
- to identify known and new archaeological sites with the help of the GPS system, to make detailed situation plans
- to search for new archaeological sites
- to prefer non-destructive methods of investigation (geophysical surveys, surface collection and aerial photography, adoption of historical techniques – e.g. toponomastics)
- to conduct probing investigation to:
- confirm results of non-destructive methods
- confirm the age of archaeological features
- study the extent and intensity of settlements or other human activities
- collect data for analyses to be conducted within interdisciplinary cooperation
- confirm older published theories
- to study the environment and opportunities that the environment provided for the life in the past (water, soil, raw materials, etc.)
- to focus on regions involved to:
- define the continuity or discontinuity of a settlement
- define functions and locations of individual sites and their relationships
- study the influence of geomorphology, climate, and cultural or other factors on the development of settlements, in particular in the prehistory
- make comparisons with other regions (European regions)
- to define and monitor functions of microregions within the regions investigated
- to involve experts from other archaeological institutions and other disciplines
- to involve sponsors, to revitalise interest of the business stratum in the sponsorship of cultural events
Project outputs:
- collection of data for archaeological databases (The National Archaeological Register, The Archaeological Database of Moravia and Silesia)
- processing of data in GIS (Graphic Information Systems) for their further multifunctional utilisation
- public presentation of results (published works, lectures, exhibitions, leaflets, postcards, etc.)

The project will be implemented in several stages. The objective of the first stage is to process data collected during the D47 motorway archaeological investigation and put them into a wider geographical, cultural and historical context of the territory surrounding the motorway.

The D47 motorway construction and the parallel project PORTA MORAVICA represent a unique chance for collection of new archaeological data through advanced archaeological techniques, and for reformulation of outdated ideas and theories. Many local sites have been known since the end of the 19th century. At that time, however, archaeologists asked questions far different from today. A majority of sites will have to be re-dated and old archaeological inventory reassessed due to the fact that recently, new knowledge has led to redefinition of entire cultures, historical periods or functions of individual artefacts.

The region of Porta Moravica fully deserves such attention, all the more before the recent construction boom destroys local archaeological heritage. Europe may help us in this effort but we first have to help ourselves.