Metal detectors and a Southern Great Plain archaeological excavation

MúzeumCafé 19.

Today a wide range of means are used to unearth finds and discover sites, including metal detectors, radar, magnetism and aerial photography. Due to the simplicity of their use and their results, metal detectors are the most widely used. These easily accessible and relatively inexpensive tools can now be found in the majority of museums. The necessity of these devices for systematic exploration is a consequence of archaeological excavation being undertaken in large areas. Due to machine digging of the top layer a large quantity of data is lost. Numerous easily datable items are often found there which can contribute to the precise determination of a given site’s chronology. This is particularly true for sites dating from periods rich in metal items, such as the locations of medieval villages. Using metal detectors the basic aim of the exploration was to determine the time periods of a settlement from the age of the Árpád Dynasty, which is not made possible by the relatively underdeveloped means of ceramic typo-chronology. We established each location of archaeological findings with GPS coordinates and documented the items which came to light. Then we mapped the sites, the scattering or compactness of these providing possibilities for further analysis. In the course of exploration we unearthed eighty-eight metal items originating from different periods, the majority being coins from the Árpád era. One of the most important results of the exploration was the identification of a previously unknown burial site from the time of the 9th-century Hungarian conquest. The burial ground indicated the spread of the location’s individually documented findings, which had escaped attention in the course of trial excavations.