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article imageArchaeologists Discover ‘Count Dracula's’ Cellar

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By Christopher Szabo     Oct 2, 2009 in Science
Archaeologists have found a cellar in the university town of Pécs in southern Hungary, which they believe to have belonged to Wallachian Duke Vlad III, more commonly known as ”Dracula.”
Tamás Fedeles, tutor of medieval and early modern history at Pécs University said his research showed that Vlad III Tepes alias ”Dracula,” lived in a two-story town house on what is now the city’s central square.
Fedeles says the Duke of Wallachia (modern-day southern Rumania) owned the house in the 1460s and this is confirmed by a 1489 document that refers to it as ”Drakulya House.” The document contains a detailed description of the house and from this, Fedeles says the cellar most likely belonged to ”Drakulya”.
Olivér Gábor, a local archaeologist, agrees. He says this cellar was one of the most impressive medieval cellars found to date. In his opinion, further excavations could turn up interesting finds.
However, authorities plan to fill in the site of the newly discovered cellar. This is partly due to the views of the official archaeologist of the Cultural Heritage Protection Service, who expressed the view that the excavations did not unearth any items that might point to an individual owner.
Zoltán Kárpáti also disagreed with the position of the house referred to in the medieval document. He did concede, however, that the cellar could have been that of the ”Dracula House” of the document.
Based on Kárpáti’s statement, city official Péter Merza said Pécs was not obliged to open the find to the public. He added that the space would have to be filled in such a way that it could be reopened at a later date.
Meanwhile, the English-language website Pestiside noted cynically that the discovery was very close to the city’s upcoming tenure as the European Capital of Culture next year, saying it was ”suspicious.”
The character of Count Dracula, who actually lived from c. 1431 to 1476 was made famous by the 19th Century Anglo-Irish novelist Bram Stoker, and was not closely based on the life of Voivode (Duke) Vlad III. Unlike the story character, Vlad’s castle was in northern Wallachia, at Târgovişte, not in Transylvania, as in the book. Nor did he have anything to do with vampire cults.
He was, however, reportedly very cruel and stories about his cruelty were circulated even during his lifetime, with pamphlets circulated about him as far away as Germany and Russia. His nickname, ”Tepes” is Romanian for ”Impaler,” while his father, Vlad Dracul’s name refers to the Society of the Dragon, an order of knights founded by the Hungarian King Zsigmond (Sigismund).
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