Carved red marble blocks, fragments of tile, stained pieces of wrought iron – these are a few of the “archaeological finds” at the construction site of the new CEU building at Nador utca 15. Students in CEU’s Cultural Heritage Studies Program visited the site in March, uncovering these gems from another era in the history of downtown Budapest.
CEU’s campus redevelopment project is now a formal part of the Cultural Heritage Studies Program, which awards a Master of Arts in Cultural Heritage Studies: Academic Research, Policy, Management. Students can study the history of the architectural complex and through that, of the city, through a careful reading of the building remains from different periods. They also gain insight into how construction activity is managed at an urban site in which preservation is also an important element. The visit, the students’ second hard-hat tour in two months, was organized by Zofia Pazitna, CEU campus redevelopment officer.
According to the legislation for the protection for archaeological heritage in Hungary it is not required to document and preserve relics from the earth dating from after 1711. Until the 18th century, this area was not part of the city yet but merely a flood plain of the Danube. As a result, no archaeological supervision is required. Archaeologists among CEU faculty members and students of CHSP, however, are tracking the project from an archaeological perspective through regular visits, and the general contractor, Market-Strabag, regularly informs the University about any items of historical import discovered during the works.
The relics found last month date from the 19th and 20th centuries. Though they do not count as archaeological finds as defined by Hungarian law, they are meaningful when dealing with the building complex and area as cultural heritage also inherited by CEU and thus they are worth presenting and interpreting. The objects, currently on display in the courtyard of the Nador utca 11 building, will soon become part of an exhibition presenting what these objects reveal about the historical site that houses the University.
“It is not only the earth that tells about the history of the area but also the walls,” said Professor Jozsef Laszlovszky, director of the Cultural Heritage Studies Program. The wall structure of the neighboring buildings display an “imprint” of those that had stood on the Nádor 15 plot before the building that was recently demolished. Remains of the old wall incorporated into the neighboring building’s sidewall clearly show the outline of a house that stood parallel with the street in the 19th century. The cellars of its service wing located in the back of the plot also came to light.
The student visits will continue, and their observations will be utilized in a Cultural Heritage Studies Program project interpreting the CEU building complex as architectural heritage, as part of the urban landscape and as a stage of the development of an urban society.
CEU’s Cultural Heritage Studies Program was launched in fall 2014, focusing on developing aptitudes for the critical assessment of tangible structures and objects such as buildings, monuments, archaeological sites, and works of art; on intangible heritage like traditions, languages, and knowledge; and on environmental heritage connected to human-nature interactions.
Permanent and visiting international faculty members include experts in a range of disciplines, such as archaeology, art history, anthropology, history, legal studies, and environmental studies. Click here to find out more.
The recent site visit was organized by program faculty and the Campus Redevelopment Office. Click here for photos, video, and news about CEU’s campus redevelopment project.