Tenth century cementery in the sand-pit of the model farm of Szabadkígyós
In 1962 finds of the time of the Hungarian conquest came to light in the sandpit of the model farm of the Agricultural Technical School of Szabadkígyós. In the course of the rescue excavations it was possible to save in the years of 1962, 1965 and 1968 altogether 27 graves, 20-30 per cent of the cemetery. The original size of the cemetery can be put at 90-140 graves, 30-45 per cent of which were destroyed in the course of the work done by sandmen, while 20-50 per cent remained unexplored.
In the analysis of the cemetery it was always taken into consideration that from such fragmentary material conclusions can be drawn only with great caution. The situation is rendered worse by the fact that 21 graves, 80 per cent of the graves uncovered, are looted and ransacked.
Among the undisturbed graves it is the grave furniture of grave 15 that is interesting from the point of view of the history of dressing. In the grave lay the skeleton of a girl, 11-13 years old, with torques and a string of pearls on her neck and a bracelet each on both of her arms.
On the skeleton 8 thin, press-forged silver rosettes were found, from the position of which it can be concluded that 2 each adorned the neck of the dress on both sides, and the other 4 had been on the hem of one of the laps of the dress closing in the middle. This wear belongs to the type of women' s wear in the time of the Hungarian conquest, retraced by István Dienes. According to the reconstruction such press-forged rosettes adorned the hem of light, gown-like dresses and high caps.
In grave 19 a bone needle case was found with a needle in it. In the cemeteries of the time of the conquest this object must be rated a rarity. In Hetény (Chotin, Czechoslovakia) and at Oroszvár (Rusovce, Czechoslovakia) two each were found and, in addition, we know a cylindrical bone object of uncertain purpose from Dormánd (county Heves). From the Great Hungarian Plain and the southern part of the country the needle case of Szabadkígyós is the only specimen known so far. On the basis of our data it can be said that in the 10th and 11th centuries the Hungarian women, on the whole, carried their needle cases on the left side, hanging from the girdle, which can be found, in general, as part of the furniture of poor interments.
Grave 9 had been looted but it was possible to observe the rather rare form of the grave which, with its shape like a boat cut off at its head, suggests the ancient interments of the Ob-Ugrians. Regarding the survival in Hungary of the Ugrian burial traditions some archeological and ethnographical data are already available and this is why this possibility was assumed in the present case, too, but naturally only a very faint trace of the custom of interment in a boat can be concerned.
The general archeological picture of the cemetery points to the fact that the population of the cemetery belonged to the richer stratum of the conquering Hungarian commonalty. Burials were probly started in this cemetery in the first third of the 10 th century, between 900 and 930, and discontinued at the end of that century, between 970 and 990. Consequently there must have been a settlement in the neighbourhood for 60-90 years (2-3 generations) in the 10 th century. The number of the population living at one time can be put at 34-60, though on account of the scantiness of data with rather wide margins of error. Counting 7 members per family 5-8 families (households) can be assumed. This data corresponds to the number of the rows in the cemetery.
Burials in rows - the only discernible feature of the order of the cemetery -indicates also otherwise the closer relation of those buried together. In our view in each row a small family taken in the social sense (a complex family from the biological point of view) was buried continuously during the whole time the cemetery was used.
The looting of the cemetery must have taken place after the departure of the population that was buried there, at a time when the graves and grave signs were still clearly visible because in most cases diggings had been made exactly on the graves. Looting was aimed on the whole at the upper part of the skeletons where probably silver and bronze objects were to be found. The ransacked skeletons were then re-buried in the graves thrown helter-skelter into one or two small heaps. According to our observations there can be no question of ritual skull looting. The looting of the cemetery was net done at random but in a well-organised form, perhaps as a reprisal against the pagan population. All this can be in connexion with the internal political conditions of the period, and with the state-organizing activity of Prince Géza, in the course of which also major resettlements may have taken place.
Tenth century cemetery in the Pál liget plot of Szabadkígyós
In December 1967 at Szabadkígyós (county Békés), in the Pál Liget plot, 3 graves dating from the time of the Hungarian conquest were meddled with. After saving their finds the entire cemetery, altogether 19 graves, were uncovered in the course of our excavations carried on in April 1968. Some of the graves had been looted in the years following the burials, and others had been ruined by recent ploughing.
Grave No. 4 is unusually big (about 3x2,5 m) and aroused attention by its size. The man buried there is believed to be the head of this big family, and his grave that must have been very rich in grave furniture was probably looted for this reason as early as in the 10th century.
By the grave No. 6 - and along the southern side of the cemetery - a ditch was found that is probably the remain of the cemetery ditch.
The parallels of the axe-adze found in grave No. 7 can be found in the Avar period and among the Khazar finds. I believe that this object can be regarded as a proof of direct Avar-Hungarian relations. After reviewing the domestic axes of the 10th century I arrived at the assumption that Grand Duke Géza, in the last third of the 10th century, - when he organized his army from Hungarian commoners and, following the Poles, equipped it with western-type swords - reviving Avar or Khazar traditions, also supplied his warriors with axes after the Polish pattern.
In the graves Nos. 7 and 8 I found traces of mounted palls. This funeral custom indicates the direct continuation of Ugrian traditions. Here, too, on the basis of the position of the buckle of belt it must be assumed that the originally slipped-in belt of the dead person was cut asunder on the occasion of the burial. Of the pall there remained some textile fragments and threads. On the latter a microscopic analysis has shown traces of red, blue and green dye.
In grave No. 9, which had been looted, hare bones were found which have so far been a unique find from the time of the conquest.
In grave No. 12 lay a young woman from whose chest 24 silver ornaments were picked up. Along with the mountings, leather remains (which had been used as stays inside the mountings) remains of linen cloth and silk were saved. The latter can be identified with the fabric called „Samit" that was used in Byzantium. In my view it got to our country through the trade relations incidental to the activity of the Byzantine missionaries which started in the 950-ies. From the position of the ornaments I draw the conclusion that they were the ornaments of two silk dresses and that there was also an undecorated linen shirt there. A botanical analysis of the earth picked up from the chest of the skeleton showed a large quantity of pollen, therefore on the occasion of the burial a funeral bunch of flowers (made from plants blooming in the late summer and autumn) had been put on the chest of the young woman. In all probability it was this bunch which the deceased young woman had held in her hands bent towards her waist.
In grave No. 13 we found manifestations of the fear of the return of the deceased person. The feet of the deceased person had been cut off and placed above his head beside which, in addition, a knife pointing towards the eye had been put. After the filling up of the grave an arrow had been shot into the grave.
According to my calculations originally a big family of about 28-30 members had belonged to this cemetery. It seems that 4-5 couples lived in this family. The men must have been engaged primarily in soldiering and hunting.
The time during which the cemetery was used can be put at the middle third of the 10th century. Parallels to the objects found there and similar burial customs can be found primarily in southern Hungary. I assume that this big family had served and done military service to the aboriginal Becse-Gergely clan in county Zaránd. In my opinion the fact that the county of Zaránd belonged to the Ducate of Bihar meant only jurisdiction and perhaps trade relations but not ethnical idendity. I believe that the ransacking of the central graves of the cemetery can be attributed to the members of alien clans that were settled in Zaránd at the time of the organization of the state.
Anthropological examination of the two 10th century cemeteries uncovered at Szabadkígyós
At Szabadkígyós, in the area of the Model Farm 27, and in the area called Pál Grove 17 graves of the time of the conquest were uncovered. The antropological material can be seen at the JATE Anthropological Institute.
Only altogether 6 skulls were suitable for a taxonomical analysis. The two cemeteries differ from each other, as in the area of the Model Farm Mediterranean and Nordic but in the area called Pál Grove Cromagnoid and Nordic elements can be found.
Compared with other cemeteries of similar age it can be said that they differ from them because of the entire absence of Mongoloid elements. An exception are the cemeteries known as commons with which they show a fairly good conformity Kübekháza, Orosháza-Görbics tanya, Békés-Povádzug, and Szarvas-Ószőlő).
Examination of the textile remains of the 10th century cemeteries at Szabadkígyós
The author outlines the results of the examination of the threads, flaxen and hemp linen and silk fabrics, remains of which survived under the protection of metal fittings in the 10th century cemeteries.
The threads had been twisted from two-branched hemp-yarn. The basic yarns are always of a Z twist, while the twisting threads were made in a Z or S direction. The threads were used for the fixing of metal fittings.
The linen fragments are loosely woven of flax and hemp yarn, their thickness varies. Some fragments have kept their textile nature rather well.
The twill of the silk fabrics shows twill lines in different directions and of different width. For their patterning two weft systems were used one of which is patterned on the right side, the other on the wrong side. These close-woven, fine silk fabrics have become very brittle and powdery under the earth.
Botanical analysis of the finds excavated from the 10 th century graves in the Pál Liget plot of Szabadkígyós
The results of the examinations made on the vegetable remains of the 10th century cemetery excavated in the Pál Liget plot of Szabadkígyós are the following: 1. Among the clothing and sewing-thread materials were rests of hemp (Cannabis), flax (Linum), and cotton (Gossypium) fibres, as well as silk and leather remains. .2. On some of the textile remains very intensive red, blue, and green colouring could be observed, which was probably due to a very stable dye.
3. The clothing remains of grave No. 12 contained an extraordinarily large quantity of Angiospermae. This mass of pollen did probably not get there from the soil at the time of the interment, but resulted from the bunches of flowers placed on the deceased. Among the pollen were large quantities of remains of umbelliferae, compositae, labiatae, etc.
4. From the grave No. 1 also wooden remains of the hilt of a sabre were brought to light. The histological examinations indicate that it had been made of quercus.
Examination of the decomposition of organic matter on the basis of the material of the Szabadkígyós cemetery
The study deals with the origin of the natural phosphate content of the topsoil -and the strata near to the superficial layers as well as with the possibilities of its changes, and refers to the reasons of the increase in the phosphate content and to the archeological conclusions to be drawn therefrom.
Among the final products of the decomposition of all organic matter phosphorous acid can be found which becomes fixed with the mineral components of the soil in various forms, within a comparatively short time. The concentration of the phosphate content of the soil taking place locally may, for this reason, be suitable for the demonstration of the organic matters present at the time. In this way also the examination of the phosphorous content of the soil samples taken from specific places by the horse bones of the horse interment in the Szabadkígyós cemetery shows beyond question that there, according to external estimation, a larger mass of organic matter which was destroyed without leaving a trace any longer to-day - according tio the archeological assumption horse-hide - has dissolved.
Archeological topographical operations in county Békés, in 1969
Archeological topographical operations covering the entire territory of the country were started in Hungary in 1964. This work is organised and directed by the Archeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences which, in cooperation with the county museums, draw up the archeological maps of each county. Between 1964 and 1969 the territory of county Veszprém was mapped in four volumes which have been and are published by the Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences. (Hun-ry's Archeological Topography - Archäologische Topographie Ungarns, 1st volume edited by К. Sági, written by К. Bakay-N. Kalicz-K. Sági, Budapest, 1966. 2nd volume: Edited by I. Éri., written by I. Éri-M. Kelemen-P. Németh-I. Torma., Budapest 1969; 3rd volume: edited by K. Bakay., written by K. Bakay-N. Kalicz-K. Sági, Budapest, 1970.) The huge series planned to comprise nearly 50 volumes is continued by the work done in county Komárom and by the operations started in county Békés in 1969.
County Békés is one of the largest counties of the country, the working up of its archeological material will require 6 years. The methodology and system of preparing an archeological topography has nearly fully crystallized in the course of the past 6 years.
The volumes of the topography contain the description and more important data of the materials collected so far and kept in museums, the working up of documentations, archives, and old maps, and the entire respective literature. All findspots will be shown on maps. Apart from identifying the old findspots the former inhabitable areas will be examined by detailed and close inspection of the areas concerned, and the grave furniture collected on the surface will also be taken to museums. By this method a considerable number of new findspots will become known. In county Békés approximately 50 findspots were discovered in 1969, and topographical excavations were carried out in 6 places.
The first volume of the archeological topography of county Békés comprises 23 villages of the county districts of Békés and Szeghalom, and will be ready for publication by 1972.
Tenth century trephined skull of Gerendás
A trephined skull was found in the fields of the village of Gerendás in the course of digging for sand. On the basis of its proportions it belongs to the female sex, and is of a Turanid - Cro - Magnóid type. Since trepanations of the nature as can be seen on this skull were performed in Hungary only in the 10th century, its age can be dated from the 10th century. The number of large-size trepanations published so far is 22, including three female ones. The number of occurrences has, therefore, increased with this present skull. On the left of the skull, an artificial, healed injury 81x60 mm can be seen on the parietal bone which, after healing, contracted to 67x46 mm. Immediately below it, in an area of 110x30 mm in the temporo-parietal field the bone has tapered off. On the inner surface of the skull, as a sign of increased pressure, the impressions of the cerebral convolution have become level and the outlines of the temporal artery have become more pronounced. The age of the deceased at the time of death can be put ab about 20 years. The form of the skull is strongly deformed. On the basis of the thinning away of the bone, the syptoms of increased inner pressure, and the deformation the presence of a benign tumor can be assumed.
This may have caused epileptic and ataxic symptoms which justifies the assumption that the trepanation had been performed for therapeutic purposes.
The trepanation indicates a well-developed technique. Since the application of a trephine can be noticed on the skull, this indicates the work of a trained surgeon, as againts the majority of the trepanations seen so far which were performed with scraping and cutting methods.
In addition, the find is rendered important by the great probability of the assumed tumor. This seems to justify the conception that the operation was performed not for animistic but for therapeutical purposes.
The text tables contain the data of the large-size trepanations found so far, as well as the anthropological measurements of the skull. The drawings show the places of the assumed trepanations, the actions, and the instrument.