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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2023

Roman Heritage in Hungary: The Case of the Fertőrákos Mithraeum on the Iron Curtain

From the book Digging Politics

  • Melinda Harlov-Csortán


This chapter discusses the role of Roman heritage in the Hungarian national narrative from the mid-twentieth century to 2015, analysing the role of archaeology in connection to the influencing political circumstances which range from the Communist Period to the first three decades of democratic Hungary. To illustrate this, the chapter takes the Mithraeum in Fertőrákos as a main example, a site that is located next to the border between Hungary and Austria. It is apparent that neither the closeness of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, nor the successful UNESCO World Heritage nomination from 2001 supported the conservation and public acknowledgement of the site. Textual sources documenting specific decision-making processes on local and national levels (including parliamentary decisions and regional resolutions) as well as marketing and tourist publications are used as sources and compared and contrasted with on-site investigations. The chapter highlights a number of reasons why the Roman remains in Hungary are not included in the country’s heritage.

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
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