They vanisched away like the Avars..." – Avar period cemetery in Zamárdi-Rétiföldek

Balogh C.

Martin Opitz Kiadó, Budapest, 2019

  • Publication Type: Book / Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Publisher: Martin Opitz Kiadó
  • City: Budapest


The so far known largest Avar period cemetery of the Carpathian Basin, covering a 5-5.5 hectare large area, is situated within the territory of the city of Zamárdi located on the southern bank of Lake Balaton. Nearly 2700 graves of the cemetery have been excavated until now, and almost the same amount is uncovered yet. Although onetime robbers ravaged and looted 95% of the graves, the cemetery is one of the richest find places of the period. Its various grave goods attest to the multi-rooted material culture of the community once using the cemetery, their ethnical complexity, and diverse commercial connections, as well as the cultural influences that arrived from various directions. Apart from eastern, nomadic cultural roots, local, Late Antique Byzantine and Germanic elements also formed the culture of this community. 

The scientific processing and publication of the find material recovered from the 2368 graves until 1997 is finished already. However, only a few information have come to light so far regarding the results of the excavation restarted in 2015, since the restoration and the processing of the finds is still in progress. Even so, we decided to give a foretaste of our recent results by presenting some new phenomena and interesting find assemblages. Our observations fit well with the results of the earlier research, therefore we selected artefacts and groups of artefacts from the material of the previous excavations too, thus aiming to offer an overview of the most important characteristics of the cemetery. We infused life into our professional results by colourful reconstruction drawings.

The excavation of the cemetery continues, and we hope that the uncovering of each and every new grave contributes to our effort to show an even more precise and authentic image to laymen and professionals about the Avar period community that once used the cemetery in Zamárdi-Rétiföldek.