Peoples migrating over enormous geographical distances, the rise of new religious ideologies, the transformation of political and social systems – early medieval Europe is not nearly as far from our present days, as we may think. This is what brought the European Union project entitled Connecting Early Medieval Collections (CEMEC) to life. Its goal is to find the matching pieces of the flamboyant European mosaic by highlighting relevant artefacts from the early medieval collections of seven cultural and museal institutions throughout the continent. Our exhibition is one of the so-called national presentations complementing the three large-scale, transnational exhibitions realised by the CEMEC project between 2017 and 2019 in Amsterdam, Athens and Bonn. This time the focus is on the Early Medieval Carpathian Basin.
Read more about CEMEC here: http://cemec-eu.net/about.php
In the exhibition Avars come to life through two stories complementing eachother but told from different perspectives. One of our main characters is a venerable Avar chief, who, as a young man, witnessed the heydays of the Avar rule in the Carpathian Basin and has seen the walls of Byzantium as a warrior. His exceptionally rich grave was found in Kunágota in the middle of the 19th century. The chief was buried with the most outstanding pieces of his treasury, among which artefacts reflecting an Inner-Asian taste as well as precious imports from the Mediterranean can be found. These latter serve as evidences to the wide range connections of the Avar elite towards other regions of contemporary Europe.
The protagonists of the other story are two ladies of foreign - perhaps Germanic - origin, who lived in the first half of the 7th century in a village situated close to today's Kölked. Their jewels of unparalelled beauty hint to their nobility and their far-reaching contacts towards the Late Antique world as well as the newly forming Europe of the Early Middle Ages. The group of people living once at the village unearthed near Kölked must have been an important one among the communities of foreign - that is, not Avar - ethnic origins living in the early Avar empire
With the help of the technical partners involved in the CEMEC project, a truly 21th century, high-tech implementation became possible: our Avars are revived through the Crossculture Timeline, holoprojections, 3D models and more.
The story of the Kölked site, too long to recount in full in the exhibition, can be read here. Enjoy!
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