Archaeologists also found a silver denarius of King Matthias during the reconstruction of Archduke Joseph's palace

Hungarian version of the article: Mátyás király ezüstdénárját is megtalálták a régészek a József főhercegi palota újjáépítése során

October 13, 2022 at 2:00 PM

During the construction of the reborn Archduke Joseph's palace on Buda Castle's Szent György Square, the archaeological excavation brought several special features to the surface: the specialists found an almost intact copper jug from the Turkish era, a silver denarius of King Matthias, and valuable ceramic and glass materials. They also found the passage that led to a cellar created from a natural rock cave. The room was probably used in the Middle Ages.

The reconstruction of the former Archduke Joseph's palace began in 2021 as part of the National Hauszmann Program. The historicist-style building was damaged in World War II, like the buildings in the Buda Castle District, but instead of being renovated, it was blown up in 1968 for ideological reasons, and its ruins were razed to the ground.

Design render of the reborn Archduke Joseph's palace (Source: National Hauszmann Program)

Before the start of the reconstruction, the works started with an archaeological excavation following the usual procedure. The former Archduke's palace was built on the site of medieval plots, and although its upper walls did not remain, the experts found a passage under one of the walls of the basement level. The passageway leading to the cellar, created from a natural rock cave, was presumably used in the Middle Ages, then it was terminated during the Turkish era and filled with debris and useless objects. A very rich and special find material came to the surface from this room - it can be read in the press release sent to Pestbuda by the Castle Headquarters.

Obverse of the silver denarius of King Matthias (Photo: Ákos Keppel/BHM)

The back of the medal (Photo: Ákos Keppel/BHM)

Among the rarities is an almost intact Turkish-era copper jug with flat sides, from which coffee was once consumed, and a copper lid belonging to a similar piece. The specialists found a large number of coins decorated with a raven holding a ring in its beak, these are silver denarius from the monetary reform of King Matthias. The other side of the medal shows the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus, surrounded by the inscription "Patrona Hungariae". The so-called image of the Madonna was dominant in Hungarian coinage until 1939.

Of the rich ceramic material (bowls with feet, pitchers with full spouts, ware and porcelain cups), it is worth mentioning a ceramic pitcher also found in one piece, glazed inside and out, from which watered wine was presumably drunk. Its green colour refers to the lead glaze used at the time, which ensured that the liquid did not leak through the wall of the earthenware vessel.

Archduke Joseph's palace in a photograph taken around 1910 (Source: FSZEK Budapest Collection)

The archaeologists also found a fragment of a Turkish-era glass bracelet, which is also considered a particularly significant discovery due to the fragility of the glass, as jewellery found in such a large piece is rare. A board game accessory made of animal bone was also identified in the find, which was drilled and filled with lead - presumably used as dice or figurines.

On behalf of the Castle Headquarters, the excavation was carried out by the archaeologists of the Budapest History Museum. Those interested can also admire the most important elements of the found material live at the exhibition "Mainly Medieval", which opens at the beginning of December in the Budapest History Museum - Castle Museum in the Buda Castle.

Source: Castle Headquarters

Cover photo: Archduke Joseph's palace in a photograph taken around 1910 (Source: FSZEK Budapest Collection)

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