Hungarian and Romanian archaeologists say they are almost certain they have discovered the tombs of Hungarian King Andrew II and his wife in southwest Romania.
The tombs of Andrew, who reigned in the 13th century, and his second wife Yolanda de Courtenay were found last year in the village of Igris in Timis county in today’s Romania.
The tombs were initially found inside the excavated remains of a Cistercian (Roman Catholic) church, according to Balazs Major who led the dig.
The Pazmany Peter Catholic University’s Archaeological Institute and the Museum of Banat in Timisoara, started excavation in 2013 under the management of Balazs Major and Daniela Tanase.
Major who is director of the Hungarian university’s archaeology institute, told Hungarian news agency MTI that the archaeologists continued work this year on the site, although they only worked for two months this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, during the dig they unearthed the layout of the church which lies under a dirt road. That helped them see the complete design of the church and locate the graves inside it.
“Last year we were 95% sure that we found the royal grave…. And this year we’re 99% sure. Between the altar and …. The tombs, there’s still an area that hasn’t been excavated, until we open that one up, we have 1% uncertainty,” Major was quoted as saying by MTI.
Major said that it was possible that the church was looted during the Tatar invasion of 1241. The Tatars were known for stealing accessories and jewellery, taking human remains and burying them elsewhere.
Archaeologists hope they will eventually find actual human remains of Andrew who lived from 1175-1235. His second wide, Yolanda lived from 1200-1233. Andrew was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1205-1235.
Major said that it was the first time a Cistercian convent had been located, that was not previously known about/
He plans to make 3D reconstructions will be available in the next two years.
Andrew II is known for issuing the Golden Bull, the first constitution of Hungary in 1222. In 2022, it will be the 800th anniversary of the Golden Bull.