The partly discovered ancient Roman defended harbour and fortlet located at the river crossing in Dunakeszi was unearthed during the construction works of a private property in 2000. Since the owner of the property decided to share this splendid archaeological find with the public the proper excavation of the ruins could be commenced. The professional historical procedures, which was lead by Mr. Zsolt Mráv, archaeologist and museologist of the HungarianNationalMuseum, was started in 2002.
In order to restore the remnants of the fortlet the private property had to be reconstructed according to the redesigned plans of Mr. Tamás Mezős PhD. The fortlet, which earned the title of historical monument in 2004, altogether with the other sites of the Hungarian Limes was included in the UNESCO World Heritage project of Hungary submitted in 2008. In case of success the Late-Roman Fortlet Exhibition becomes the part of the the UNESCO World Heritage List as well as the other historical sites of the ancient Roman limes stretching along the river border of the former Pannonia Province.
The Fortlet as a cultural site and permanent exhibition
Following the excavation and reconstruction of the remnants a spectacular archaeological exhibition has been commenced beside the Roman walls recently, where tableaus, original articles and replicas represent the military importance and the defensive system of the Dunakanyar, as well as the fort of Dunakeszi itself. From the exhibited material we may cognize Valentinian I, the emperor with a tragic fate, the garments and weaponry of Roman soldiers; and we also learn how they lived their lives, whatever tools they utilized inside the fort in the period of the Late Roman Age. Visitors may invest themselves in the characters of soldiers who took part in the construction works, can touch and experience how heavy a Roman brick is. The one who would like to have a look at the boundary of the Empire, or is interested in the lives of the neighouring barbarian tribes, can watch a documentary film or read the legend on the tableaus. Further touristic opportunities of the fortified port - accessible easily on ship, or by both car and bicycle - can be advanced by its recognition as World Heritage Site.
Currently the Fortlet hosts two permanent exhibitions. One of them introduces the archaeological artefacts and findings unearthed on the spot and provided by the HungarianNationalMuseum and through them the everyday lives of the soldiers and their families living within the walls of the Roman military establishment. The other one is presenting the detailed history of the era by the means of 15 information board written and edited by Mr Zsolt Visy PhD, the professor and archaeologist of the University of Pécs, chairman of the Hungarian Limes Association and the reputed expert of Roman history.
The Exhibition is also at its visitors disposal providing the following programmes:
- Historical lessons, sessions and camps
By the static and interactive means of the Exhibition the elementary and secondary school students of Dunakeszi and the surrounding settlements can broaden their historical knowledge significantly. Apart from the abundant archaeological findings and information presented the Exhibition intends to provide a real historical adventure, which urges further cultural, historical and touristic discoveries and makes the visit a real fun coupled with education. On request the museological lessons introducing handheld artefacts, interactive historical and craftsmen programmes, re-enactment shows can be organized for small groups as well.
In summertime the Exhibition offers historical ancient summer camp programme for the local and guest children. Besides the many games, craftsman activities, competitions and other programmes the participating children can join the historical military show of the Legio Leonum Valentiniani Historical Re-enactment Team held at the bank of the River Danube and in the nearing youth camp, while the life of the barbarian tribes living in contemporary Pannonia is introduced by the Szarvas Celtic Tribe.
As a conference hall the Exhibition also suitable for smaller scale professional events or meetings and by the means of its interactive ancient military capabilities it can offer team building programmes as well.