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2020 | 37_(79) | 1 | 43-66

Article title

Nosenie na hlave ako archaický spôsob transportu nákladov v európskom priestore


Title variants

Head-carrying as an archaic way of burden transport in the European space

Languages of publication



The study deals with an archaic way of carrying burdens in Europe, namely with carrying on the head. Various burdens are carried placed or fastened¨on the head, on the top of the head, at the back of the head, and at the neck. The burden is put on the head directly, or it is placed in various types of transport aid (baskets, pack baskets, wooden or earth vessels etc.) which are fastene in several ways on the head. This method of burden carrying, in contrast to other ways of transport, has not been a subject-matter of comparative analyses to date. An in-depth analysis and comparison of the hitherto published works, and the reappraisal of older research and iconographic and cartographic materials are supposed to help bring up a hypothesis about autochtonousness of this method to transport burdens in the Central-European space. Several authors considered the carrying on the head to have been imported to Central Europe from the Balkan Peninsula.
As this method occurred in Northern, Southern, and Western Europe, even on the British Islands, the Faroe Islands, and the Shetland Islands, we think that it developed independently, and it was always based on natural, cultural and historical conditions in particular countries and com munities. Several records and investigations point out a common way of transporting burdens in farming or on journey For this reason we mean that this method was common in the Central European space in the past, andit also developed independently there, as it did in the rest of the European territory. Based on comparative analyses it is possible to modify the assertions that carrying on the head was imported to Central Europe from the Balkan Peninsula. According to our findings and analyses, it developed in the Central European space independently, and it was significantlyinfluenced by natural conditions, forms of traditional occupations, and ethnical and social compositions of inhabitants, division oflabour etc., as it was in all parts of Europe. We used similaror identical methods of carrying and techniques of carrying the burdens on the head in all research locations. For this reason, we consider carrying on the head to have been a common way of carrying burdens in Europe even in the inter-war period. We can find residues of it in Europe even today, namely in Spain, Portuguese, Italy, and in the rural environment in the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula.







Physical description

Document type



  • Česká národopisná společnost, z. s., Národní třída 3, 117 20 Praha 1, Czech Republic


Document Type

Publication order reference


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