New exhibition about the Middle Ages opens in the Castle Museum

Hungarian version of the article: Megnyílt a Középpontban a középkor című kiállítás a Vármúzeumban

January 17, 2021 at 5:00 PM

The Vármúzeum ('Castle Museum') of the Budapest History Museum has created the fifth exhibition that places the finds of mediaeval archaeology from the past year in the spotlight. While the physical exhibition does exist. Currently, visits are limited to virtual tours.

Archaeology is like a million-piece puzzle, and archaeologists are part of a cícle: every year they add new pieces to those we have already uncovered about our past. The fifth annual exhibition of the newest archaeological finds highlights the most interesting newly found pieces of the jigsaw. Some of the artefacts on display are still being processed – writes the Budapest History Museum in a statement.

From the dig site to the display

Beyond the artefacts themselves, the exhibition offers a look at their path from the dig site to the museum, and presents the work of all professionals needed to process these new finds.

Coins found in a clay pot from the 15th–16th centuries were found at the excavation on the site of the Buda Hospital of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God (Photo: Budapest History Museum, Castle Museum)

Cross-shaped pendant from the 15th century, found on the excavation at 47 Népfürdő Street in the 13th District (Photo: Budapest History Museum, Castle Museum)

The fact that artefacts still being processed are on display, allows those interested to become more acquainted with the archaeological process. Before scientific and academic studies have been completed, researchers are limited to hypotheses and assumptions. For example, without detailed analysis, it is impossible to discern why the people of the time decided to stuff the carcass of a large horse down a well that was only 150 cm in diameter.

This horse skeleton was found in a medieval well from the 15th–16th centuries, at the excavation on the site of the Buda Hospital of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God (Photo: Budapest Historical Museum Castle Museum)

Explore and play through the virtual exhibition 

The year 2020 — like for so many others — presented the museum with new challenges. The team working on the exhibition decided to create the display regardless of the pandemic related closures and even recorded a digital version. This allows the audience to explore the exhibit online on a PC, tablet, smartphone and even using VR glasses. The lighthearted comic-book style of the displays will also help alleviate some of the stress that the current situation has brought to everyone.

S-ended silver hair ring from the Árpád Era found at the Zrínyi Street excavation in the 17th District
(Photo: Budapest History Museum, Castle Museum)

Camel skull (Photo: Budapest History Museum, Castle Museum)

During their virtual tour, visitors can stroll through the entire exhibition, examine the details, relax looking at individual objects and learn more about their history. Playful visitors can guess which animal the bones on different cards belong to (a bear fang? camel skull? or a skunk's pelvis?); vote on whether they'd prefer to be archaeologists, restorers, archaeozoologists or historians, and send messages into the digital twin of the clay coin-box found at the excavation of the Buda Hospital of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God. 

György Terei, archaeologist, head of the Medieval Department was the curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition can be viewed online on the museum's website.

Source: Budapest History Museum 

Cover photo: Exhibition of the latest finds of Mediaeval Archeology opens  (Photo: Budapest History Museum, Castle Museum)

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