Bead finds from the Keszthely Culture burial site in front

of the southern fortress wall of Keszthely-Fenékpuszta

Pásztor Adrien

Hadak útján. A népvándorláskor fiatal kutatóinak XXIV. konferenciája. Esztergom, 2014. november 4–6. Conference of young scholars on the Migration Period. November 4–6, 2014, Esztergom

MŐT Kiadványok 3.1 (2015) 529–579

DOI 10.55722/Arpad.Kiad.2015.3.1_22


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A keszthely-fenékpusztai késő császárkori erőd déli fala előtti temetőkben feltárt 6–7. századi temetkezések gyöngyanyagának tipológiai és tipokronológiai elemzése készült el. A feldolgozás elsődleges célja a gyöngyök rendszerezése, a fenékpusztai gyöngylelet-csoportok anyag-, forma- és típusbesorolása, illetve a típusok, típusvariációk és gyöngysorok jellemzése.

Kulcsszavak: Kárpát-medence, Keszthely-Fenékpuszta, avar kor, gyöngytipológia


This paper covers the typological and typochronological analysis of 1,394 beads from thirty-three graves of the 6th–7th century burial site, 140 burials of which have been excavated since 1963 in the cemeteries located in front of the southern wall of the Keszthely-Fenékpuszta for-tress built in the late imperial period of Rome. The primary goal of this study is to classify the bead finds of Fenékpuszta by material, form and type and to describe the bead types and their variants.

The 1,394 beads unearthed from thirty-three burials have been classified into six groups according to their material. Most of them are made of glass (with millefioris among them), less frequently of gemstones, organic gemstones (ivy, coral), shell, bone and metal.

According to their shape, they have been grouped into ten main types, nine types and 210 type variants.

As a basic feature, all thirty-three necklaces, classified into four groups, have beads of the late Roman or late antique tradition, except for those found in the graves 1963/16 and 1963/26.

Group 1 is clearly different from the others since it only includes early Keszthely Culture necklaces made up of Roman or traditional antique beads.

In the necklaces belonging to Groups 2 to 4 these early elements appear in varying numbers and their role is no longer determining (while, for instance, only one early millefiori bead as a novelty is included in the late Roman tradition necklace of burial 1980/1/2 and a tripartite appliqued bead in the millet pearl necklace of grave 1967/87, in the colorful necklace from burial 1967/96 mostly revealing West-Germanic contacts a bluish ring, a longish cylinder and a drink-ing glass fragment refer to antique traditions.

In the necklaces belonging to Group 2, apart from Roman and late antique specimens, beads known from Germanic (Frank, Alaman and Bavarian) cemeteries of the Merovingian period and mainly originating from traditional glass manufacturing workshops in Southern Germany and the Rhineland have a defining role.

Beads testifying to West-Germanic contacts are also significant in the necklaces of Group 3, while types of the late antique tradition are still present too. At the same time, the style and tastes revealed by their composition is the same as represented by the necklaces of the Early and Mid-dle Avar Age in the Carpathian Basin.

The three coloured longer necklaces of mixed composition in Group 4 contain in fact the type variants of beads belonging to Groups 1 to 3. These beads make up necklaces of the same style as can be observed in the Byzantine-style wear of Langobard commoners in Romanized North-ern Italy and the Julian Alps region (eg. Krajn) and the Avar-age nobility in Keszthely-Fenék-puszta, Horreum.

The necklaces of Keszthely-Fenékpuszta analysed here bear witness to variegated ethnic and cultural origins, complementing our picture about the beads worn by the mixed population of the Keszthely Culture.