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VALCUM Zala, Hungary.

A Roman settlement 7 km S of the city of Keszthely, between the hamlet of Fenékpuszta and the railroad stop. It lies on the road between ancient Sopianne (Pécs) and Savaria (Szombathely) and was built under Constantius II in the 4th c. The walls can be clearly identified on three sides as well as the round towers 20 m apart. The E wall is defective, partly because of the erosion of the lake shore, partly because of the building of the railroad. The walls are connected at a 90 degree angle, with only a slight deviation; the size of the fortress is 380 by 370 m. The latest excavations established two gates, N and S. Along the W and E walls are 10 towers each, on the N and S walls eight each, plus two gate towers. Also there were four corner towers, larger than the wall towers. Inside the walls 17 buildings were discovered. The simple, two- and three-room dwellings may have been houses or agricultural buildings. The large villa, discovered in the E part of the fortified town, must have been the center of the settlement. Among the buildings the basilica of the 1st and 2d c. is clearly identified. In 1959, next to the W wall, a large horreum came to light; on its E side a 6th c. cemetery with 31 graves.

The Roman cemetery, outside of the S wall, lasted into the 5th c. The cemetery of the leading citizens of the 6th c., inside the town next to the horreum, disclosed unusually rich grave gifts. The cemetery from the middle of the same century lies outside the S wall on its W side, and traces of it extend into the 7th c. The 9th c. cemetery, S of the S wall, was used during the middle and latter part of the century. Population of the town at that period must have been strongly mixed; beside the local elements one can observe Avar remains and a few Carolingian military materials.

There are no satisfactory answers yet as to why the town was destroyed. Research indicates that nearby Fenékpuszta belonged to the fortress line, formed after the Frankish campaigns for the defense of Italy, and was destroyed by Magyar settlers.


B. Kuzsinszky, “A Balaton környékének archaeologiája,” Archäologie der Plattensee Umgebung (1920) 45-74; A. Graf, “Übersicht der antiken Geographie von Pannonien,” Diss.Pann. I, fasc. 5.124, 126, 128; Cs. Sós A., “Das frühmittelalterliche Gräberfeld von Keszthely-Fenékpuszta,” Acta Arch. Hung. 11 (1961) 247-305; D. Simonyi, “Fenékvár ókori neve,” Antik Tanulmányok 9 (1962) 13-30; K. Sági, Magyarország régészeti topográfiája I Veszprém megye régészeti topográfiája, Keszthely-Tapolcai járás (1966) 81-87; id., “Das Problem der Pannonischen Romanisation,” Spiegel der völkerwanderungszeitlichen Geschichte von Fenékpuszta; L. Barkóczi, “A 6th century cemetery from Keszthely-Fenékpuszta,” Acta Arch. Hung. 20 (1968) 275-311.


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