Vázsonykő – Cultural Dialogue through Community Archaeology

excavation nagyvázsony

"Historia est magistra vitae” – history as life’s teacher is the ancient saying that floated before our eyes when we, the Fekete Sereg Youth Association (ALF Hungary member) came up with the Vázsonykő project. Nagyvázsony, Hungary,  is a little Europe: Germans, Hungarians, Slavs, Roma and Jewish people have lived together for centuries, and there is a tradition of cultural dialogue in the village.

The above mentioned intercultural dialogue and international history was the basis of our project. Despite the small size of the village, we wanted to bring international programs and dialogue to Nagyvázsony. The project consists of two parts: at its center there is an excavation conducted according to the principles of community archaeology, in addition to local history, historical presentations and guided tours. In addition to Hungarian, most of the guided tours and presentations are also available in English, and even in Italian or French if required.

The guided tours take place in nature, next to local monuments, and in addition to Hungarian history, European history is also presented, and the tours also explore topics and challenges that are pertinent nowadays. For example, from an environmental point of view, such topics include, for example, the creation of a new forest planted in place of a previously exterminated one, the effectiveness of contemporary epidemiological measures, or the responses to the war traumas.

The most popular event of the project is the archaeological excavation. The excavation is conducted according to the principles of community archaeology, which means that volunteers carry out the excavation tasks under the guidance of professional archaeologists. In 2022, 30 volunteers from 16 countries took part in the excavation, where the official language was English.

The main aim of the excavation is to learn about the history of the village, as well as to find the remains of the „Charlemagne of Nagyvázsony”, Pál Kinizsi, who was not only a general, but a patron of culture as well. In 2022 the Volunteer Center Foundation awarded the Vázsonykő project as the Best volunteer program of the year.

During the local history tours and excavation, foreigners, especially young people from abroad, participate in addition to the locals, and many exciting cultural dialogues and debates take place during the events. These small events show how a small unity of Europe looks like between the youngsters. The Vázsonykő project wants to be a bridge. A bridge between past and present, a bridge between cultures, furthermore, a bridge between Europe and Hungary. We believe that history is life’s teacher, and it’s never too late to learn from it – especially at the European level.

Learn more about the project here: https://fekete-sereg.hu/en/vazsonyko-cultural-dialogue-through-community-archaeology/