Horváth Attila – H. Tóth Elvira szerk.: Cumania 1. Archeologia (Bács-Kiskun Megyei Múzeumok Közleményei, Kecskemét, 1972)

E. H. Tóth: Előzetes beszámoló a kunbábonyi avar fejedelmi leletről

PRELIMINARY ACCOUNT OF THE AVAR PRINCELY FIND AT KUNBÁBONY BY ELVIRA H.TOTH On the 20th February, 1971, two groups of people set off to the sand-pit of Bábony, a settlement in the outskirts of Kunszentmiklós, in 4 km's distance East of the village. The former farm belonging to the large village now being a farmer's cooperative centre is mentioned as a landed property in medieval charters. Today its inhabitans call it Kunbábony. The sand-pit is located on a lane, few meters' high ridge of sand-hills once named Churchyard Baulk stretching towards East —Southeast, bordered on the West, North and South by lowlying, sodic pastures and sourrounded by former and existing vineyards as well as a new acacia forest. The local people have been exploiting this sand-pit for 15 years, and nobody remembers of any archeological find coming to light in this area. Both groups of people were to deliver sand to different home-builders. In the morning, the tractors blocked the access to the recently exploited northern part of the pit, so one of the tractors was compilled to stop and wait by the eastern wall of an older part of the pit, unexploited for months. One of the members of the group took notice of the side of a large vessel in the collapsed sand-wall, unprotected by roots under the surface. When the people who worked in the pit saw this find, they crowded around it, and one of them started to dig the sand where the ampho­ra had been found. Soon they found pieces of bones and fragments of gilded silver sheets, so they went on digging with increasing curiosity, and in a little while a skull, a crescent-shaped decoration, then a gold drinking horn and a heavy gold vessel came to light. The study contains the shortened text of the lectures delivered on the International Slavic Conference held in Szeged, April 1971 and on the VIII. th conference of UISPP held in Bel­grade last September. The people, continously clearing away the falling sand, by hand and with shovel reached into the hole which stretched down towards the wall, and took out further belt-ornaments, remains of weapons from the brownish coloured sand, so eagerly that they took hardly any notice of the small jewels, gil­ded silver fragments. At midday, when the finds were running out, everybody took away the collected objects, and left the grave — which, after having been opened as deep as a man's height up to waistline, got covered again by the collapsed sand — carrying both the excavated sand and the collected objects into the village. The finders probably detached the gold fittings from the iron parts of the weapons on the spot and on their way home, so that the carefully elaborated hangers and some other objects — found later — were lost. The finds were reported of by Gábor Szűcs at the local police station, but it was not followed by any measure. Thus, in the afternoon and Sunday morning, the people from the nearby farms, together with the guard of the pit went on ransacking the grave, and found the gold sheet decorating the lower trimming of the garment, and some other small gold sheets thrown away by the original finders. In order to find out if the objects are really made of gold, on Sunday, Gábor Szűcs sent — with the help of his neighbour —a gold fitting to the local watchmaker, who immediately recognized its histo­rical value, and suggested to report at the museum. Then, at noontime, Szűcs advised by telephone the Museum of Kecskemét. In the meantime his neigh­bour's children, equipped with entrenching tools went to the spot, and collected gilded silver sheets at the Eastern edge of the grave, and gold sheets from the outcast sand. 143