BRIEF COMMUNICATIONS J I N D R I C H MATIEGKA AND THE DEVELOPMENT O F CZECH PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY BOBO SKERLJ AND JOSEF BROSEK Institute of Anthropology, University of Ljubljana, and Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene, University of Minnesota Thin and discontinuous roots of Czech physical anthropology go back to 1850 when J a n Evangelista Purkyn6, well known as a physiologist, assembled in Prague a collection of prehistoric as well as more recent skulls. A study on “Human skulls in general and the Slavic skulls in particular ’) was carried out by his assistant, Eduard GrBgr, and published in an obscure Czech journal in 1858. From 1891 Lubor Niederle, the first docent of prehistorical archeology and anthropology a t the Czech TJniversity, concentrated his efforts on the former field and it became the opportunity and life-long task of JindFich Matieglia to develop the field of physical anthropology as a n independent discipline concerned with man as a part of the living nature. His scientific publications cover a span of half a century from 1891, the date of his Crania bohemica, to the description of the rich ossuary at the town of MElnik, published in 1941. This “royal dowry town,’’ situated some 20 miles north of Prague, furnished Matiegka not only with anthropological material but gave him also a stimulating companion and untiring helper - his wife - as well as his collaborator, immediate successor and biographer, J i I i Malf (Jindiich Matiegka, Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts, Prague, 1949). Matiegka was born on March 31, 1862, a t BeneLov (some 40 miles south of Prague) and died a t MBlnik in 1941. H e got his M.D. in Prague (1887) and for several years practiced medicine, mainly a t MElnik and in Prague. It was in MElnik that he developed interest in anthropology. He became unpaid docent of anthropology and demography in 1897 but only from 1908, when appointed associate professor, could he apply his energy and organizational ability wholly to scientific work. Even then he was assigned only one room in the Zoological Institute, and he had no assistants. It was not until 1918, 515 516 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY the year in which a n independent Czechoslovakia was created, that he became - in his 56th year - full professor. I n 1924 he was able to move into one of the largest institutes of physical anthropology in Europe. H e had a full share of academic honors. For the year 1921-22 he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and for 1929-30 the Rector Illagnificus of Charles University. I n 1932 he became professor emeritus and retired to IElnik where he worked with full energy until his death. The bibliography of hlatiegka ’s publications consists of 280-ocld items, not to mention several hundred short contributions and reviews, published mostly in the journal L4~zthropologie(Prague), edited by hlatiegka from 1923 to 1941. It is symbolic that with Matiegka’s death, during the Nazi occupation of the “Frotectorate” of Bohemia and Moravia, Anthropologie also perished. After World War I1 the money set aside for the support of the journal was “frozen,” the co-editor, &fa&, died in 1949, and the journal did not resume publication. Matiegka’s professional interests covered a broad field. I n 1897 he published his pioneering studies on the development and health of the Prague youth and on the menarche of Czech girls ; this concern remained alive throughout his life. Another field of Matiegka’s activities was the reconstruction and evaluation of the slreletal remains of historical Czech personalities, such as 8t. Wenceslas, Czech kings and their wives (1932), Hussite warrior Ziika, Comenius, etc. A third important topic of his research was fossil hominids, especially those found a t the renowned Pleistocene site of PPedmosti (HomopPedntostensis. I. Crania, 1934 ; 11. Other skeletal remains, 1938, Prague). From the early beginnings of his scientific career Matiegka was also interested in demography. For years he served as a medical officer in the Health Departmeiit of the Iiingdom of Bohemia. This provided material and stimulus for demographical studies. It may be noted that the university department carried the title “ Institute of Anthropology and Demography. ” His first docent, FrantiBek NetuBil, a young demographer attached to the State Statistical Department, died in 1927 and the division of Demography remained undeveloped. Interestingly enough, one of Matiegka ’s last papers, “Vital statistics of the members of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts in Prague” (1941), was a demographic study. Matiegka published most of his papers (and all books) in Czech, frequently with comprehensive summaries in other languages ; but some studies appeared also in English, French, and German. He contributed several chapters to the volume entitled “L’6galit6 des BRIEF COMMUNICATIONS 517 races enropi5ennes et les moyens de les am6liorer,” published by the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts (in Czech, 1934) and also by A. A. Ill. Stols (in French, 1935, Bruselles). This was a prompt, courageous, and positive reaction against the Nazi racism. I n 1921 he published in this Journal a stimulating paper dealing with partitioning of the human body in terms of its gross morphological components (muscles, bones, f a t ) , a proof of Matiegka’s modern viewpoint in physical anthropology of the living man. It is impossible to cite all of Matiegka’s scientific publications. However, a t least two books must be mentioned. I n 1927 he published Tlie Sotiia,tology of Xchool Children, a unique, comprehensive source book in this field. I n 1935 appeared his profound Philosophy of Xmnatic Anthropology. This is the work of a mature scholar, written after a lifetime of research in many fields of anthropology. Matiegka sometimes preferred to speak of “somatic” anthropology rather than physical anthropology. This terminology appears appropriate, a t least insofar as anthropology is concerned with the living human organism. The term “physical anthropology” tended to be identified in the past with the narrow osteometric pursuits and abstract concern with body measurements without a n attempt to get a t the individuality of the human organism and its relationship to environmental factors, health, and the mode of life. I n addition to his intensive original investigations and field studies, Natiegka served as the editor of the journal Anthropologie, the dnthropological Library (published by the Anthropological Institute), and of the monographic series Antliropologica (published by the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts). Also, he was creator of the Hrdlic’ka M u s e u m of M a n , in Prague, one of the richest and best institutions of this kind in Central Europe. All these activities received a n important subsidy from a special fund created by Ale; JIrdliCka, the well-known American anthropologist, in memory of his wife, Marie. HrclliEka had a profound and positive influence on Matiegka and his school. Strangely enough, in one respect HrdliEka’s impact was deleterious, almost disastrous. It was he, a n M.D., who obstinately held the view that the physical anthropologist must have a medical degree. AIatiegka, who also came to anthropology through medicine, shared this view. Thus 1’.Suk, who later became professor of anthropology a t the Masaryk University in Brno, Moravia, had t o get a n M.D. in order to be accepted into the fold although he had received his Ph.D. under the eminent anthropologist R. Martin (then in Zurich). Similarly, Ma19 in Prague had to study medicine as propedeutics to physical anthropology. Even if one agrees that knowledge of human 518 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY anatomy is of great importance and that medical competence is vital for some anthropological problems, nevertheless the demand for an M.D. as a prerequisite for physical anthropology is excessive and wasteful. Some 50 doctor’s degrees (D.Sc.) in anthropology were granted by the department between the two World Wars; but this degree was not enough to pursue academic career in this field. I n Czechoslovakia, physical anthropology was offered in the Faculty (College) of Natural Sciences. The students had little or no contact with ethnology, archeology, and other disciplines concerned with man as a social entity, as these lectures were offered in the Faculty of Philosophy. Such a separation appears undesirable and artificial. At present, familiarity with other natural sciences (such as geology and paleontology) and, perhaps more importantly, with the social sciences, is more crucial for a creative approach to anthropological research than the training in clinical medicine. It should be recognized, on the other hand, that Matiegka ’s direct contact with medical sciences contributed notably to the strengthening of the quantitative point of view in Czech anatomy where, under Borovansk$ in Prague, several excellent studies were carried out (e.g., on age changes in the length of the vertebral column, quantitative sexual differences in the human skull and pelvis, and development of ossification centers in boys from birth to 19 years). Matiegka was a stiniulating teacher, with a warm, friendly relationship to his students; he almost always found a way to solve their technical or personal problems. He was intensely interested in his work when he used to show to one of us (B.b.) the steadily growing collections, his blue eyes would reflect the joy he had experienced in obtaining every new item for the Museum or for the library of the Institute. I n the context of this note on the development of anthropology in Czechoslovakia i t may be appropriate t o mention the late Professor J. Nalj., born in 1898 at M & n k He decided in his high school (gynanasiuna) years to become a physical ant,hropologist and after he received his M.D., Mali became Rlatiegka’s first assistant. As a young docent he joined HrdliEka in a field study in Alaska. On Matiegka’s retirement in 1932 Ma19 became the chairman of the Prague Anthropological Institute. After the Czech universities were closed by the Nazis (November 17, 1939), Ma19 concerned himself, as a legal consultant, with cases of doubtful paternity. Following the war he again took charge of the Institute and the HrdliEka Museum. I n July, 1949, he suddenly died of a heart attack in the midst of a university examination, without a successor of professional rank pri- BRIEF COMMUNICATIONS 519 marily because of the strange non-recognition of t.he department’s own doctor degrees. With the passage of Matiegka and Malf, the center of the Czech physical anthropology shifted to Brno where V. Suk for some 20 years had the chair of Anthropology in the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the Masaryk University. He was in a certain sense a modernist in the Czechoslovak anthropology, interested in physiological and medico-anthropological problems. When after the war the Prague journal Anthropologie did not start again, Suk was able to create a n Anthropological Society in Brno and publish the Bulletin (Zprcivy), covering the whole field of anthropological sciences in a comprehensive meaning of the term. Unfortunately, Professor SUB reached the retirement age about three years ago. It came to our attention recently that Dr. Vojtgch Fetter, Malf’s former assistant, was put in charge of the Department of Anthropology in Prague. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY (Matiegka’s works referring to the Cnited States or published in English) 1904 Uber Schiidel und Skelette von Santa Rosa ( S a n t a Barbara Archipel b. California). Sitzungsbericlit konigl. bohm. Ges. Wissensch. Prag, No. 2. 1919 The origin and beginnings of Czechoslovak people. Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 471-486. 1920 Graphic representation of the inside of the skull with special reference t o the pituitary fossa. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop., 3: 397402. 1921 The testing of physical efficiency. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop., 4 : 233-230. 1939 The skull of the fossil man “Brno 111” and the cast of its interior. Anthropologie (Prague), 7: 90-107. 1939 Bibliography of Dr. Ales HrdliPka, 1928-1938. Aiithropologie (Prague), 17: 9-12. 1939 (With J. VLK). (Identification of the cranial type of the North American Negroes with South and West European types.) ( I n Czech.) Anthropologie (Prague), 17 : 305-322. 1940 Skeletal trunk indices. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop., 1 6 : 309-314.