Showing posts with label Conquest period. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conquest period. Show all posts

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Permanent exhibition of 9-10th Hungary opens at Hungarian National Museum

Dress ornament from Zalavár (Photo: Hungarian National Museum)
A new, long-missing section of the permanent archaeological and historical exhibition of the Hungarian National Museum opened yesterday. The exhibition - which is the continuation of the rooms dedicated to the history of Hungary from prehistory to the Migration period - is focusing on Hungary during the 9th and 10th centuries, and consists of two parts. The first part is dedicated to the 9th century, especially to the western, Transdanubian region - the area of the Roman province of Pannonia - which was part of the Carolingian empire. The exhibition displays for the first time a large selection of the sensational discoveries made at the Zalavár excavations. Finds from the churches and palaces of this important late Carolingian center - including some of the oldest stained glass fragments from Europe, as well as a complete bell foundry - make up perhaps the most interesting part of the new exhibition. The second part contains objects from the period of the Hungarian (Magyar) Conquest of the Carpathian basin, and finds from the 10th century, the period before the formal establishment of the Christian Kingdom of Hungary.

Ornamental discs from the Hungarian Conquest period (Photo: Hungarian National Museum)

Taken together with the preceding part of the exhibition, this is the largest archaeological exhibition in Hungary, and one which is also quite informative and well-installed. Monitors with 3D-reconstructions and other interactive elements make the exhibition even more interesting for younger visitors as well. Ágnes Ritoók of the Hungarian National Museum acted as chief curator of the project, coordinating the work of two teams. This new exhibition is accompanied by two separate publications: one, written by Béla Miklós Szőke, is dedicated to Zalavár and the Carolingian period in Hungary, the other - the work of László Révész - is about the Conquest period. Both books were also published in English - so you can expect to read more about them on this blog soon.

Cap ornament from Beregszász (Photo: Hungarian National Museum)

The website of the National Museum has some technical problems, so I am linking here to the Facebook page of the Museum. The photos in this post come from there.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hungarian ornaments found at the site of the Battle of Lechfeld (955)

In the Battle of Lechfeld, King Otto I defeated the Magyar troops in 955, effectively putting an end to the period of Hungarian invasions to western Europe. The battle took place near Augsburg, but its exact location was not known. According to German press reports, a sensational find may change that. An amateur archaeologist found a set of horse ornaments at a site some 15 kilometers northeast of Augsburg. The silver ornaments show traces of gilding, and their style unmistakenly ties them to 10th century Hungarians. The ornaments must have belonged to a high-ranking leader in the Hungarian army. The leaders of the army, including Bulcsú and Lehel (Lél) were executed by Otto - who himself was later crowned Emperor. The Hungarians turned towards east during the next few decades, being involved in conflicts against the Byzantine Empire. Finally, however, the period of Hungarian raids was over, and a new kingdom emerged in the Carpathian basin under the rule of King St. Stephen (1000-1038).

Photo: Archäologische Staatssammlung München 

The finds were presented last week by the Archäologische Staatssammlung München. Further excavations to be carried out at the site may shed more light on the circumstances of this decisive battle. The finds will be presented at the permanent exhibition of the State Archaeological Collection after restoration.

You can read about the discovery in Augsburger Allgemeine (in German) or in Népszabadság (in Hungarian). More information is available at the following sites: Bayerischer Rundfunk, Focus, Aichacher Zeitung, usw.

Drawing of Hungarian conquest-period horse ornaments.
Reconstruction by László Révész

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Conquest-period sabretache plate found at Hungarian excavations

Sabretache plate excavated in Pest county
Photo from Sírásók naplója blog 
A Hungarian archaeological blog (Sírásók naplója) reported on a recent lucky find in Pest county of Hungary. Last week, remains from the period of the Hungarian Conquest (early 10th century) have been found on a field, and excavated by archaeologists from the Pest County Museums. Of the three tombs found, one belonged to a high-ranking male, and all his accessories were found intact, including his belt and his arrow. Most important is the his sabretache plate. To quote András Róna-Tas (Hungarian and Europe in the Early Middle Ages - An Introduction to Early Hungarian History), "the sabretaches are the most characteristic finds from graves of the Conquest period. They were strengthened with metal plates, generally of silver. At the side of each bag, a strap was threaded through, and both this strap and that which attached the bag to the belt were decorated with mountings. The sabretache, which fulfilled the function of a pocket, would have held fire-making tools." 

Only about two dozen similar objects have been recovered from the Carpathian basin, and very few of them come from documented excavations, so the find is of great importance. As the archaeologists, Ágnes Füredi and Tibor Rácz report on their blog, the last similar find was made in the late 1980s, when tombs at Karos were excavated.

Sabretache from Galgóc
Hungarian National Museum 

The photo above is from the Sírásók naplója blog - you can find more images of the excavations there. For more information on Magyar metalwork of the Conquest period, visit the website of the Archaeological Department of the Hungarian National Museum. Sabretaches enjoy some popularity in contemporary Hungary - I found the most complete list of such finds on one of the traditionalist websites, the Tarsolybearers' Homepage. Defitinely have a look at the sabretache plate from Galgóc, maybe the finest of such objects, and the first one to be found, back in 1868.