In 2009 archaeologists have found traces of what have once been the residence of a Vandal king. The stone construction of the tile and mortar remnants indicates that the structure was probably built by the Romans more than 1,600 years ago. The find is located near the village of Ražňany in eastern Slovakia and it’s the most northern ancient Roman construction site in central Europe (Roman roofing tiles and pottery have been found there). The dates of the excavations is estimated to be somewhere between the 3rd and 4th centuries.
“The site could resemble provincial residences of the later Roman period,” a Slovak archaeologist Vizdal hypothesized. However, he said that he could only guess as to why the Romans would build such a residence for a foreign king, hundreds of kilometres away from their territory. Vizdal surmised that the Vandal king might have been loyal to the Roman Empire and safeguarded a trade route to regions to the north. Or he could have been a military ally. According to another archaeologist, Anton Karabinoš, the structure could have indicated simply an adaptation to a more civilized lifestyle. Karabinoš surmised that the find might be connected to an earlier discovery of a rich grave in the nearby village of Ostrovany. The grave, discovered in the 18th century, contained golden decorations, glass vessels, and other exotic items and was originally thought to have been one of a series of burial sites of Vandal chiefs. This most recent research, however, opens the possibility that this grave could be the single grave of the Vandal king.
These finds link to an older find of a tomb in Poprad – Matejovce in 2006. The grave belonged to a member of the social elite who lived on this territory at the turn 4th and 5th centuries. The significance and, in particular, the condition of the well-preserved vault has caused archaeologists to compare it with that of Ancient Egyptian ruler Tutankhamen. “It is better preserved than anything that has been found in Europe so far,” an archaeologist Karol Pieta said. Currently, only fragments of vaults have been found, and in Poprad, a whole structure, including a roof, was preserved. Archaeologists usually only come across such findings in the Orient or Egypt. The vault was robbed shortly after the Vandal magnate was buried. Pieta assumes thieves stole several precious items, including the complete golden decoration of the vault, weapons, and other items. “We know that such chiefs wore golden bracelets weighing 0.5 of a kilo just as some ‘businessmen’ currently wear thick golden chains,” Pieta said. Nevertheless, the archaeologists are not disappointed because, in spite of this, they found many things in the vault, some of which belonged to the magnate and some to the burglars, including organic materials. It is unique that the whole outer and inner chambers of the vault have been preserved. During the research, the archaeologists found a bronze pot, other vessels, an iron axe with a handle, a hoe, metal arrow heads, pieces of furniture, and inner paneling in the vault. They even found hazelnuts. The grave even held half a skeleton, from which experts can set the basic parameters. The vault has preserved brocaded textiles, clothes decorated golden threads, and leather products. Pieta thinks that these will be even more precious than those of gold. The archaeologists also have found one gold coin made into a locket, which has helped them to date the vault. “It is a standard Roman coin of Caesar Valens, who died near Adrianople in 378. The coin was manufactured in 375, thus we know that this grave must be younger. Radiocarbon dating confirmed that the grave is from the period after 380 and other hints indicate that it dates back to the second decade of the 5th century.”
Finds have been found in the region around the red-black balloon :