“Hundred Gepid dwellings” – The structure of the Gepid

settlement at Rákóczifalva

Masek Zsófia

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) 407–445

DOI 10.55722/Arpad.Kiad.2015.3.1_17


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Az elemzett lelőhely (Rákóczifalva-Bagi-földek 5–8–8A. lelőhely) gepida kori tele-pülésének feldolgozása nagy kiterjedése miatt új módszertani megközelítéseket igényel. A tanul-mány célja a település szerkezetének vizsgálata, kiemelve a részben földbe mélyített épületek szerkezeti sajátosságait, amely számos önálló szempontot adhat a település kronológiai fázisai-nak meghatározásához is.

Kulcsszavak: Kárpát-medence, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok megye, gepida kor, településkutatás, veremházak, módszertan


The excavations of a huge continuous archaeological site at Rákóczifalva-Bagi-földek 5–8–8A in 2006–2007 have produced altogether 2062 archaeological features from different periods at the area of 94,979 m2. 266 features (485 stratigraphic units), including 10 burials and 105 pit-houses, can be dated to the Gepid phase. In this paper I evaluate these pit-house-like structures accord-ing to different aspects. The chronological aspect could not be used in the analysis yet, since the overall evaluation of the pottery finds is still under way. Thus, the results of this paper should be considered as preliminary. Nevertheless, even this preliminary evaluation gives a rough picture of what is most probably the largest 5th-6th century  excavated settlement in the Great Hungar-ian Plain or even in the Carpathian Basin.

The first part of the study presents the outline of the main structural units of the settlement. The structure of the excavated settlements is spread and it covers a territory of approx. 7 ha. A larger part of it consists of dwellings separated by a ditch network renewed at least once. Another part can be characterised by rows of houses located at regular distance from each other; else-where the dwellings form small groups. Two average-size pit-houses opened to south-southeast and surrounded by circular ditches are situated at the eastern part of the site. The densest part of the settlement is at the eastern side of the excavated area. All the pit-houses with ovens (15) are located here. This may be interpreted as a workshop area.

In the next part of the paper I evaluate the size, depth and orientation of the buildings and cre-ate a typology of the structural features of the houses. The conclusions show a more or less similar picture to the one based on the results of the investigations carried out during the last two decades, thought to be characteristic for the Kingdom of the Gepids. The settlement at Rákóczifalva con-firms that Gepid settlements can be characterised by pit-houses with two posts or their variations. The solution with six posts is much rarer than in Transdanubia, and even rarer is the type with posts in the corners. Different asymmetric structures appear in relatively high numbers again as com-pared to Transdanubia. Many dwellings have no traces of supporters, a phenomenon which has not been documented yet in Transdanubian excavations. In case of the Great Hungarian Plain the situ-ation is slightly different, due to the presence of houses with a single post in the middle.