In the past decades researchers examining burial customs have recognised local phenomena pointing to the cultural diversity of the Avar population inhabiting the Carpathian Basin. Thus it has been proposed that several groups of different traditions and cultures may have coexisted in the territory of the Avars. In the recently excavated 7th–8th-century Avar cemeteries near Szekszárd (Szekszárd-Tószegidűlő, Tolna-Mözs-Fehérvize-dűlő) another — already known (Szekszárd-Bogyiszlói út és Gyönk-Vásártér út cemetery) — characteristic phenomenon was observed that can now be regarded as a regional feature. The paper discusses this burial type - which has recently also been found in great numbers in the cemetery of Tolna-Mözs —, namely the empty graves containing no human remains. Empty burials have been known in cemeteries of the Avar Age, however, their number is usually insignificant compared to the total number of graves. The aim of this paper is to analyse the possible reasons for empty graves and to show that they were the result of a conscious custom, most probably intended as symbolic burials.
György (George) Bocskay (†1575) was a member of a well-known Hungarian noble family. He was capable to adapt himself to the expectations of the Viennese court of the Habsburg Monarchy to build a significant career at the Hungarian Royal Chancellery as royal court secretary, royal councillor and calligrapher. He decorated various writing model books and charters for the Habsburg rulers as well as several letters of arms for Hungarian noblemen. However it is less known that the calligrapher made sepulchral inscriptions in stone as well applying a new technique of his time, the acid-etching. Emperor Ferdinand I commissioned him to prepare the Square Capitals for the marble cenotaph of Emperor Maximilian I in Innsbruck. Additionally, he used similar letters to inscribe the sepulchral monument of the highest ranking official of the Hungarian Kingdom, the Palatine Tamás Nádasdy and his wife, Orsolya Kanizsay in Léka (Lockenhaus).
After the Treaty of Passau (1552) the claim was established that after Emperor Charles V the member of the Austrian line of the Habsburg dynasty, Ferdinand I could have imperial power. The revival of the antiquity significantly influenced the rebuilding of his main residence, the Hofburg, the development of the Roman lapidaries and collections of antiquities at his court (Hermes Schallauzer, Wolfgang Lazius, Ferdinand I), and the style of festive decorations and artworks all’antica he commissioned during this era.
In 1562 Bocskay dedicated a writing model book to Ferdinand I in order to be commissioned to prepare the inscriptions of the sepulchral monument of Emperor Maximilian I. The manuscript included several writing samples in Square Capitals imitating the epigraphic monuments of the ancient Romans. Later he worked on the acid-etched and gilded inscriptions in Vienna in 1563–1568 according to the archival sources. He prepared inscribed marble plates for 24 marble reliefs of the cenotaph representing scenes of the life of Maximilian I as well as 18 plates of the sepulchral inscription on the frieze. The Latin texts were compiled by the vice-chancellor of Ferdinand I, Georg Sigmund Seld.
Bocskay was accommodated in the house of the Nádasdy family in Vienna. He probably equipped a workshop for the process there. He also prepared three more inscribed limestone plates for the sepulchral monument of the already mentioned Tamás Nádasdy and Orsolya Kanizsay. The marble cenotaph was erected in 1566 in the castle of Léka where the Palatine and later his wife were buried. The monument was transferred to the new family crypt of the Augustine monastery of Léka in the 17th century.
colligates the whole process of creating a suitable locus – the grave itself –, the act of placing the dead into it, with all the connected forms of behaviour and rites. The term cenotaph is sometimes also used as a synonym for symbolic burial – however
case of Alsónyék there is only one more or less apt candidate to be assigned to this category. As far as its dimensions and shape are concerned, Grave 7 is not an exception, but due to the missing human remains it might be regarded as a cenotaph ( Fig