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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Dr Andrew R Millard

László, Orsolya Millard, Andrew R, Gröcke, Darren, Rácz, Miklós & Nowell, Geoff (2019). "Investigation of a Historical Crime Scene" - A Comprehensive Study of an Unusual Burial in the Calvinist Church of Sóly, Hungary. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 25: 320-330.

Author(s) from Durham


A rescue excavation in the Chapel of the Presbyterian Church of Sóly, explored a grave of two men in an unusual position among 20 other child burials in 2008-2009. The burial is dated to the early modern (16-17th century AD) Period. The 45-50-year-old males showed signs of poor health condition and both had healed fractures and perimortem sharp force traumas including also injuries due to decapitation. Craniometric and morphological features suggested the two men of non-Hungarian origin but show similar characteristics to incoming populations from South Slavic areas during the Ottoman Period of Hungary (16-17th centuries). Strontium and oxygen isotope analyses were conducted, with O isotope ratios suggested that Skeleton 12 had a non-local childhood, with a ratio consistent with an origin further east in Europe. The ratio of the sample from Skeleton 11 was consistent with a local origin but also with a wide range of other places in Central and Eastern Europe. The two men are inferred to be non-local victims of murder or extra-judicial punishment and exemplify the high level of local conflicts in this troubled Period of Hungarian history.