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A SUBTERRANIAN PALACE.

Recent proceedings in the Hungarian Parliament disclosed a most remarkable discovery, which, were it not so conclusively authenticated, would be almost impossible to believe. The story, as condensed from the original reports, is that two peasants, or rather shepherds, from the island of Ivan-Egerzeg, near the ancient city of Veszprim, and not far from the Lake Balatol, came to Pesth, and to a jeweller offered some broken fragments of what evidently was some very old golden ornament for female wear—probably a bracelet or band for the upper arm. The jeweller questioned the shepherds, and, their answers being unsatisfactory, he had the men arrested on suspicion jof being thieves. On' their examination they told a tale which was so astonishing that it was communicated to the Minisfter of the Interior, and this functionary ordered an investigation by scientific officers. The information of the herds was that in the woods skirting Ivan-Egerzeg, where they had Some huts for shelter when out at night, they had been digging at a little’ hill, wanting the earth for building purposes. Suddenly they came upon what appeared to be a square structure .of brick walls, with a stone covering the aperture. Removing this stone they found that these walls inclosed -an opening into the earth, and resolved tosound its depth. Lowering a stone tied: to a rope, they ascertained that the’ shaft, about three feet in diameter, or’ nine feet square, descended perpendi-i cularly to a depth of over a hundred. 1 feet.

The pebble the}’ had lowered reached what seemed like a stone floor beneath,, and from the sound itself, they judged that this opening must lead to some* large subterranean cavern or hall. They agreed to keep their discovery a secret, and to explore the mystery. A day or two afterwards the shepherds were again at work. They prepared .a small square board, freighted witk. stones, and in the centre of it theyt placed three lighted candles. Thisi they let down through the shaft, and by the light of the candles they saw distinctly that the inner sides of the) shaft were smooth, and apparently! ended in some large apartment. As the candles continued to burn all the way down, they came to the conclusion that the air could not be vitiated, and that it would be safe to go down. They next prepared a rope ladder of the requisite length, secured several lanterns, and then one of them let himself down the shaft. At the bottom he stood in wonder as he gazed upon a large square hall, the walls covered with faded paintings, chairs, benches and tables standing around, ornamented with gold and ivory, and large heavy doors hung on golden hinges, leading] to other rooms. The shepherd climbed the ladder and told his companion of the discovery. Both of them went down together, and, walking about,; found themselves in a succession of* rooms abounding with elaboratelyt) carved furniture of a style they had.-: never seen before. In some of them! were low, large stands, evidently once : used for beds. There were also closets, " bureaus, containing armlets, medals, coins, daggers, chains, swords, & shields, and helmets. There were breastplates of leather, covered with

iron and studded ; with ornaments in gold. Some, of] the armlets they took away, broke them up, and carried them to Pesth for sale, in which transaction they were arrested, as above stated. The officers of the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior began their investigation under the ancient law which tnakjes all such discoveries the property of the Crown, and their report, as communicated to Parliament, is still more startling. Their researches clearly, establish as a fact that this subterranean istructure was undoubtedly an old Roman castle, built many centuries before the Huns and Magyars left; their Asiatic homes to invade this part ol Europe. This section of Hungary was the province of Pannonia, of the Roman Empire, - and in the vicinity of Lake Balatol there was a large permanent Roman camp, the agricultural and military settlements of the Romans extending for many miles, and traces of this Roman'occupation, which continued down to tne sixth century of the Christian era, have repeatedly been found. But how this vast structure, which is said to cover two acres, and built two storeys high, with massive walls of stone and brick, was covered with earth to the depth of more than 6bft., over which a forest of heavy timber had grown up—a forest, too,; that ia mentioned as existing in the oldest •preserved chronicles of the kingdom, the officers have so far found, is impossible to account for. In one room several skeletons of human beings! have been found, but the bones were too much decayed to indicate with certainty the race to which they belong. The shaft through which the first discovery was made is believed to, have been either a chimney (?) or an observatory, or a look-out, as iron hooks were found fastened to the wall inside, to which means of ascent and descent were probably attached. The Minister of the Interior has asked for a preliminary appropriation of 100,000 florins to make a more full examination, and also demanded authority to commence work at once, digging out the whole earth burying the place, and thus bringing to the eyes of the nineteenth century evidence of Roman provincial life, hidden from the light of day possibly for fifteen centuries. -

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18811223.2.4

Bibliographic details

A SUBTERRANIAN PALACE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 516, 23 December 1881

Word Count
901

A SUBTERRANIAN PALACE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 516, 23 December 1881

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