Unique finds yielded by archaeological excavations in Fiľakovo Castle district

Unique finds yielded by archaeological excavations in Fiľakovo Castle district

In summer 2018, four-month rescue excavations were carried out outside the lower bailey of Fiľakovo Castle. The research was associated with an INTERREG cross-border project launched to revitalise the place and to re-develop it into a visitor area with a new car park and public toilets. The only surviving corner tower of the town’s 17th-century fortifications, standing on the site, is to be reconstructed and converted to a visitor information centre.

Town fortifications and other interesting finds

The primary objective of the excavations, ordered by the Regional Monuments Board, was the localisation of masonry joints connecting the corner tower with the town walls, as well as rescue research of the site prior to construction of the new toilets. The digs were made to a depth corresponding to the planned ground surface level. The four test pits yielded interesting finds related not only to the development of the town fortifications, but also to the 1682 siege of the town (and to citizen life in later years), as well as to settlement of the built-up area in prehistoric periods (Eneolithic and Bronze Age).

Surprising was the discovery of traces of early earth-and-timber fortification system of the town (palisades), dating probably to the early 17th century. In the late 17th century a newer defensive stone wall was built, overlaying the northern section of the palisaded earth rampart. Found were also remains of a homestead outbuilding with unbroken earthenware, some glassware, and remains of textiles and crops (millet, wheat, barley, maize).

Discovery of Europe-wide significance

The abundant archaeological finds provided us with fine insight into the everyday life of the townspeople in the past centuries, but also gave us a glimpse of the extraordinary culture of the Ottoman Turks who seized the town and the castle during the Ottoman Wars. Interesting artefacts were found, such as silver coins, clay pipe bowls, stove tiles, painted ceramics (local earthenware and Persian faience), metal jewellery and decorations, and ornate bone items. A unique discovery of European significance is a broken piece of a small clay disc with a stamped Arabic inscription (the language of the Ottoman Empire was a blend of Turkish, Arabic and Persian vocabulary). Based on analogous finds from Szekszárd and Dunapataj, Hungary, the item was identified as a Shi’ite prayer tablet. Although its origin remains unknown, it might have been brought to Fiľakovo by an Ottoman Janissary recruit of Persian descent. After their cleaning and preservation treatment, key artefacts will be put on temporary display in 2019, and later they will be included in the permanent exhibition of the Castle Museum.

Viktória Tittonová, Fiľakovo Castle Museum Director

 

© 2018 HG
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