The grave of a 16th century nobleman discovered

A valuable find was unearthed by an archaeologist among the remnants of the former Roman Catholic church in Szilágyperecsen/Pericei: the grave of a member of a family of high noble rank, perhaps the noble Báthorys. An analysis of the bone fragments discovered will follow, and the results will be communicated around the end of this year.

In Szilágyperecsen/Pericei, the remnants of a Catholic church built almost 500 years ago were discovered, and now the grave of a high-ranking noble from the 16th century was also found. In the 1980s, the tops of two sarcophagi were unearthed. Mayor Boncidai Csaba communicated to maszol.ro news portal that the area bought by the municipality was excavated in 2017, as they were planning to build a mortuary.

They assumed back then that there was an archaeological site in the area due to the discovery of a monograph by Mór Petri, who wrote that once on the “Violet hill” in Perecsei, a Catholic church stood, which had a crypt where the Báthorys were buried. But no one knew the exact location of it. The sarcophagus tops found in the 80s were the first clue to finding it.

The two sarcophagi tops, probably from 1570–80, were found under a demolished home with a thatched roof. These are now in the vault of the Reformed church. The locals believe that one of them belongs to the stone coffin of the 18-year-old son of Elek Báthory.

Last year, according to the monograph the archaeologists found, the base of the Catholic church was built by András Báthory. The exact date of the construction is not known, but there are exact data regarding when it was demolished. Every brick of the church was carried away back in the year 1668.

But there was still something left in the ground. During the excavations, a double grave was discovered, where an adult and a child rested.

The analysis of the skeletons revealed that the child was a 5-year-old girl and the adult was a man of about 40 years. The remnants of a decorative collar placed on the girl were found as well. In the case of Christian burials, bodies are placed East-West. The adult skeleton was facing toward the West, but the girl was placed perpendicularly.

The adult was buried with a sword, helmet and mace near him; the archaeologist also found spurs. These 16th century objects prove that the person was a member of the local elite, an important man. His identity will be revealed after laboratory examinations, which will be complete toward the end of the year.

Featured photo: Mária Kulcsár

Author: Blanka Székely