AMATEUR archaeologist Milan Pupala might have uncovered a long-lost hillside fortification in the village of Utekáč in east-central Slovakia and measured and plotted out the walls of the fortification that are partially visible from a nearby hill.
Pupala told the TASR newswire that he had been curious for several years about the name of the village – hinting that it was based on the verb utekať (to run). Historical sources also indicate that Hungary's King Belo IV fled across the valley of the Rimavica River, the locale where Utekáč is situated, in 1241 after being defeated by the Tartars. It is reported that the king hid in the hill fortification but the Tartars found the site and demolished it, though the king managed to escape.
“I work with a dowsing rod not only to find underground water but also to detect changes in the landscape and territory that have been made by human effort,” Pupala told TASR. With help from the students in the school’s history club that he leads, they searched for terrain irregularities and managed to mark the walls of the outer fort that have a perimeter of nearly one kilometre. He said he also determined where the gate and inner walls were, saying they are partially visible now, and that his dowsing rod has pointed to what he thinks is a stone courtyard about 1.5 metres below ground level.
Pupala presented his findings to the local monument board and received consent from the owners of the land to continue the archaeological research.
“I think professional archaeologists do not trust amateurs,” he told TASR while opining that “80 percent of [archaeological] discoveries have been made by amateurs”.