Natural conditions of bohunice and its surroundings
The town of Bohunice is part of the Nitra Autonomous Region and is located at the nothern tip of the district of Levice. Bohunice is based at the edge of the volcanic Central Slovak Highlands (Slovenské stredohorie) and the Danube Plain. The volcanic mountains here represent the southern projections of Štiavnické Hills (Štiavnické vrchy), while the Ipeľská Downs (Ipeľská pahorkatina) is the northernmost projection of the Danube Plain. The highest point of the cadastral territory is a peak Bohunický Grebe (Bohunický Roháč) at 558 metres above sea level. Bohunice is located on the verge of warm and moderately warm climatic territory. I tis thus part of warm district with moderate winters. Sikenica River flows crosses the town Bohunice. Its upstream part is called Štampoch. With its 47 km in lenght, Sikenica is an important left-hand tributary of the River Hron. The location on the southern edge of Štiavnické Hills determines to a large extent the type of flora as well as fauna in the area, with mainly thermophilic species typical of the highlands of western and southern Slovakia. In the past the Carpathian oak and hornbeam forests covered virtually the entire territory of what is now the municipal area of Bohunice, while oak-ceriated forests could be found on suitable sites. Diverse plant communities spread along the Sikenica river as lining riparian vegetation only a few meters wide. Given the location, the abiotic and floristic conditions on the foothills od Štiavnické Hills, the fauna of Bohunice and its surroundings is highly thermophilic. The Sikenica River creates an interesting habitat for aquatic animals, such as mayfly larvae and caddis fly, and a number of water crustaceans. Predatory, but protected praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) inhabits the sunny grassy locations, while grasshoppers seek similar biotypes. Field cricket (Gryllus campestris) can be found on field edges. The beetle family is primarily represented by the predatory species of the family of crustaceans, not least by the great lucan (Lucanus cervus). Within the multicoloured word of butterflies swallowtails draws attention. The most useful animals include pollinators, bees and bumble bees. The most common amphibians include a few kinds of jumpers as well as the bufi toad (Bufo bufo) and tree frog (Hyla arborea). The snakes that have been noted include the grass snake (Natrix natrix) and tree snake (Zamenis longissimus). The birds, particularly in the forests and on their edges, represent a community of diverse and numerous species. Among the mammals, the relatively common species in the Bohunice area include insectivores, such as the pale hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor), European mole (Talpa europaea) or a forest shrew (Sorex araneus). The Sikenica River is the biotop of river otter (Lutra lutra). The most significant species among the wild game include the boar (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and red deer (Cervus elephus). The Bohunice municipal area includes two territories that are protected by law. The Bohunice Park is a protected area directly located in town. The brim of the Bohunice cadastral area reaches the edge of the protected countryside area of Štiavnické Hills.
Prehistoric and early settlement of Bohunice
The oldest traces of settlement of the town date to the early Stone Age, the Neolithic era. It is the period of significant historical development in human society. Production economy replaced that of the earlier periods – the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic eras – which was based on hunting and picking. Man gradually either limited or abandoned the hitherto passive means of food gathering to turn towards conscious grain cultivation and livestock breeding. Animal domestication and grain farming, together with development of permanent settlements, are jointly referred to as the characteristic features also known as the Neolithic revolution. A confirmed settlement of the early farmers in the town’s cadastre is along the Short Creek (Krátky Potok). The period brought considerable deforestation and development of a cultivated area with pastures and agrarian land that have essentially lasted until today. The Younger Stone Age was succeeded by the Late Stone Age, the Neolith, by some researches also referred to as the Copper Age. This period brought along two types of production material – traditional stone and coloured metals, particularly copper, gold, silver, etc. The settlement in Bohunice dating to the Late Stone Age has been documented in the location of Dielce. It is linked to the discovery of a stone busting hatchet with a hole drilled in the rear. The period also brought a settlement at a significant landmark over the town, the site of Hrádok. The Bronze Age followed the Stone Age as the period of prehistoric human evolution that brought an expansion of the use of bronze, having thus raised technical, economic and social standards. As Bohunice is based on the foothills of Štiavnické Hills rich in deposits of coloured metals, copper, gold and silver, one can rightly anticipate there a settlement involved in metal processing, as is the case of Hrádok. The subsequent Early Iron Age ended the prehistoric phase. The period that followed, the Late Iron Age also known as the Laten period opened a new era – the phase of protohistory. Kelts gradually came to Central Europe from the West. The period also saw an emergence of the first proper tender, the coins. Keltic coins have been found in Bohunice. The exposed site of Hrádok was settled later as well, in the Early Middle Ages, as is evidenced by a finding of a fragment of a clay pot. The very name of the municipal site Hrádok (small castle) suggests a presence of a small towered middle-age castle on the elevation east of the town. Small castles of this kind used to serve as an aristocratic home of the local landlord, though they might have served strategic and defence purposes. From the 12th to the 15th century such castles were widespread across the territory of what is now Slovakia. Circular in shape, they were surrounded by moat and rampart. Earlier they served to protect both the landlord and the population of the entire town.