Searching for Magyar Origins and Singing Cossack Songs

International 3 August 2017

 This July, UTMN hosted its first international Russian-Hungarian archaeological summer school.

The school was organized by UTMN, the Institute of Problems of Development of the North (Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), The Hungarian Academy of Sciences’s Institute of Archaeology and the UTMN partner university Pázmány Péter Catholic University. This year, more than 20 Russian and Hungarian undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers took part in the summer school, which was based mainly at the UTMN archaeological site in the Ingala Valley.

“The school aimed to determine the Magyars’ origins and to find archaeological proof of their ancestors’ migration from West Siberia”, said the Russian Head of the school, Professor Natalia Matveeva from the UTMN Department of Archaeology, Ancient World and Medieval Studies, Head of the Laboratory for Archaeology and Ethnography. “There was an interesting presentation by a Hungarian PhD student on men’s ceremonial belts of the X century and another by her colleague on funeral masks as markers of Hungarian migration to the Danube area”.

Natalia Matveeva and the Hungarian Head of the school, Attila Türk, also gave talks on the Magyars’ origins and culture.

“It was our first joint project with the Hungarians, and it turned out to be very fruitful. From early morning until late into the night, we were working together: excavating, discussing relevant issues and cooking on an open fire”, recalls Professor Matveeva. “We showed our guests some of the Ingala Valley’s artifacts and landmarks, which could be hypothetically connected to the Hungarians’ origins. In particular, we visited the largest hillforts and picturesque burial mounds. Our Hungarian friends climbed these mounds and observed the valleys and fields below, just like their ancestors probably did before them. It was both a romantic and an educational experience for all of us.  

It is interesting that most members of the group from the Pázmány Péter Catholic University speak Russian and are quite familiar with our literature and folklore. At our farewell dinner, they suggested we sang Cossack folk songs together.

At the end of their stay, we presented our guests with several books on archaeology by UTMN researchers. The Hungarian delegation also gave us their latest publications on the subject. Of course, opportunities for further cooperation were also discussed”.


Source: UTMN Office of Strategic Communications

Photos by Mátyás Szöllősi

Link to Russian version:


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