In 2020 the CLIR Research Center assisted an intriguing non-invasive research with the technical supervision of the Archaeological Heritage Protection Directorate of the Hungarian National Museum (MNM RÖG) on the area of the Roman fort (Crumerum) on Nyergesújfalu Sánc-hegy (Rampart Hill, Komárom-Esztergom County, Hungary). The research history of Sánc-hill can be traced back to the early 18th century. Already Prince Francis II Rákóczi, who raised considerable entrenchments on the area noted that numerous of Roman finds came to light during the earthworks. Perhaps the inscribed statue base been built into the wall of the Roman Catholic Parish of Nyergesújfalu was also uncovered in these times. The father of Hungarian archaeology, Flóris Rómer also recognized the importance of this site, although it was Albin Balogh, then director of the Esztergom Museum, who conducted excavations on the area in 1924, unfortunately the exact area of his research cannot be localized. In 1978 a rescue excavation was conducted on the site preceding a construction and in 2008–2009 trial trenches were excavated.
In 2020 the site was enlisted on the tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site “Frontiers of the Roman Empire”. Following a series of modifications the nomination was almost finalized in Late 2017. The joint nomination of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia titled “Frontiers of the Roman Empire – The Danube Limes” was submitted by the Hungarian state party to the UNESCO, Site Nr. 48 of this nomination was Nyergesújfalu Sánc-hegy. In the wake of the nomination new, modern archaeological surveys were conducted on the site in 2018. Archaeologists from MNM RÖG unearthed the remains of edifices pertaining to a Roman settlement at the foot of the hill. A trench was opened on the hilltop to ascertain the northern, NW–SE oriented rampart and/or wall of the fort. Furthermore, researchers have clarified the groundplan of the northern tower of the NE gatetower (so-called Solva Gate).
In 2020 after having cleared the protected greensward covering the archaeological site in an environmentally friendly manner, specialists conducted Ground-Penetrating Radar (GRP) and Electrical Resistivity Imaging (ERI) survey on the area, clarifying the internal layout of the fortification. Their work was assisted by metal detectorist volunteers from the Instrumental Site Surveillance Group of the Hungarian National Museum. The municipal authority of Nyergesújfalu supported their work on multiple occasions, most recently concerning the preservation of the excavated gate tower of the Roman fort.
The collaboration of national archaeological institutions and the purposeful application of Modern techniques yielded a multitude of finds alongside the acquisition of new data. From the Roman era, numerous coins, stamped tiles, rings, hairpins, fibulae (brooches), a bronze plate decorated with a mythological hunting scene, military belt fittings; from the Migration Period a 5th century fibula; from the Kuruc era coins and a cannonball; from WW2 Era cartridge-cases, iron frags and the fin of a mortar grenade were collected by experts.
The press conference was held on July 30, 2020 in the auditory of the MNM RÖG (H-1113 Budapest, Daróczi út 3). Participants were greeted by Tamás Pusztai PhD, deputy director-general of archaeological heritage protection. The work conducted by the MNM RÖG, including the research of the Roman fort at Nyergesújfalu, were summarized by László Schilling, head of the excavations conducted between 2018–2020 and Tamás Látos surveyor. The work of CLIR Research Center was presented by Gergő István Farkas PhD. The official communique of the Hungarian National Museum is available here.
The short history of the Roman fort Crumerum
From the hilltop rising above the Danube, both the neighbouring fort of Solva (present-day Esztergom) was visible and a long section of Barbaricum on the far side of the river was supervisable. The shape of the fort is still uncertain, its northern side has so far eluded archaeological confirmation. From the early 2nd century AD onwards, the fort was garrisoned by the cohors V Callaecorum Lucensium c. R. (supported by inscriptions, including the above-mentioned statue base and by stamped tiles, which will soon be published). The list of Notitia dignitatum states, that in the 4th century the fortification was manned by a unit named “Equites promoti” (Not. dign. occ. 33,8).
László Schilling – Gergő István Farkas PhD