Zsófia Torma, a woman in the service of Hungarian archeology

Zsófia Torma, a woman in the service of Hungarian archeology
(1832 Csicsókeresztúr - 1899 Szászváros)
Written by: Friedrich Klára (2007)
Translators: Susan Tomory and Margaret Botos

I would like to show the life of Zsófia Torma, the world's first lady archeologist not in a chronological order, but according to subject matters:

01. The way it began
02. Her love for family and homeland
03. The most important stages of her scientific work
04. The lady-archeologist - the archeologist lady
05. Her familiarity with professional literature
06. Her thoroughness and method of research
07. Her scientific correspondence
08. Her views of ancient history
09. Decorations, master-signatures or letters?
10. Those who acknowledged and appreciated her
11. Disregard for her work
12. Falsifications
13. Summary
14. Our mission
15. New data for her curriculum vitae
16. Professional literature


1. The way it began

The children of the archeologist-historian father, József Torma, liked to play with the excavated finds and pottery shards, which sometimes covered the entire floor of their room. Zsófia was 13 years old, when Flóris Rómer, a Benedictine monk (1815-1889), the founder of the preservation of Magyar archeology and ancient artifacts, visited József Torma in Csicsókeresztúr, at that time asking about his excavations. But, ten years later, it was Zsófia's famous geological and paleontological collection that he came to visit and admire in Szászváros, a collection that Zsófia had gathered, often on very tiresome journeys, which lasted several days, and from which museums and paleontological societies asked for materials.



2. Her love of family and homeland

Her father was not "just" an archeologist, but he was also legate of Belső Szolnok County in 1848 and a Member of the Parliament. The husband of her sister, László Makkay, was an officer in the Freedom Fight of 1848/49 in the army of József Bem. Her brother also volunteered at age 18 into the army of General Bem and he fought valiantly until the Zsibó (today Rumania, Jibou) armistice. After her parents' death Zsófia moved to her sister's home in Hunyad County, whose children she taught with love and patience. She adopted one of the children and she took care of this child along with her own son with great joy.

She realized the immense importance of her homeland in the fields of archeology, ethnography and paleontology and she wanted these to be known world wide. She felt it her duty, as a daughter of her country, to collect the deteriorating artifacts and preserve them, and for this she sacrificed her private life. "...instead of the fleeting images of youth her spirit was involuntarily filled with more earnest deeds, and she paid attention with flaming interest to everything the home soil presented as natural uniqueness, or in the form of some antiquity..." writes Gábor Téglás, her student, a geologist and archeologist from Déva.

In her later comparisons she emphasized the unique Magyar features, the tulip, the Székely-gate, Attila's Turul - Karuly bird and the tree of life that the Szászváros women embroidered onto their linens, -- among many others. She bore the costs of her travels out of the country, and her goal was to further the good fame of Magyar science.



3. The most important stages of her scientific work

In 1875, she began her excavations in the Tordos ancient settlement, which had been brought to her attention by András Vén, the Reformed teacher of her town, where, up to that time, only two school-directors had collected a few pieces from the riverbank of the Maros.

In 1876, she took part in the 9th International Congress for Ancient Archeology in Budapest, with nearly one hundred pieces of her finds.

In 1877, she was elected honorary member of the Szeben Honismertető Egylet.

In 1879, her first archeological work was published: Hunyadvármegye Neolith (Kőkorszakbeli) telepei (The Neolithic Settlements of County Hunyad).

In 1880, her excavation of the Nándor cave-complex series was published.

In 1880, she was called to Berlin to the Great Congress of German Anthropologists, where Schliemann's Trojan finds were also shown.

In 1882, she studied in the museums of Germany; she took part in Frankfurt-on-Main in the XIII Great Congress of German Anthropologists and, in the same year, she also visited the ancient collections in Vienna, Budapest, Kolozsvár, (today Rumania, Cluj-Napoca) and Nagyenyed (today Rumania, Aiud,)

In 1884, she received Lajos Kossuth's first letter from Turin, paying homage to her.

In 1889, the Vienna Congress was a great disappointment to her, since there were not even ten people sitting on those chairs, who would have had appropriate fore-knowledge, which would have permitted them to understand her comparisons.

In 1894, her "Ethnographishe Analogien" was published in Jena, which was greeted mostly with praise.

On May 24, 1899, half a year before her death, the University of Kolozsvár gave her an honorary doctorate.



4. The lady-archeologist - the archeologist lady

When we hear about the world's first female archeologist, we are interested - beyond the respect we give her as a scientist - to find out what she was like. Zsófia Torma was intelligent, beautiful, noble and rich, to whom 25 men proposed, but she gave her hand not to one person, but to Magyar science. Not because she wanted to elevate herself above the rest of humanity, since she was very modest, as the final words of her "Ethnographische Analogien" states: "...I wanted to omit all desire for fame and sensation. I saw the importance of my collection only in the fact that I wanted to place my finds into safety, by rescuing them from the waves of the Maros river, since there were no other appropriate collectors at hand. I did this, even though many prejudices and obstacles attacked me from many sides, and still continue against me today."

In spite of the problems mentioned by Zsófia, it was not the jealousy of her female companions that made her life sad. She mentions in her writing the praises she received from the lady members of the Szebeni Honismertető Egylet. She had very good connections, with Heinrich Schliemann's second wife, Sophie, who was also interested in archeology, and Anna, the wife of Johannes Ranke, a German anthropologist. She certainly handled and directed the affairs of her wealth and household with care, since she kept the letters from Anna Ranke, the wife of the German anthropologist, in which she sincerely thanked Zsófia for the carefully packed, beautiful fruit she received in München, from Szászváros.

She was the only woman among the lecturers at the 9th International Ancient Archeological Conference. The comic papers ridiculed the 'crotchety young lady', "until the audience got used to the fact, that in her they found not the ridiculous "blue stocking" person of novels, but instead a real example whom they could honor and respect, although in our society this is rare, but thank God, even here it is becoming more and more frequent." (Gábor Téglás, student, archeologist.)

In 1896, she wrote expressly for her female colleagues an article, published in Szolnok-Doboka County Women's Millennial Memorial Publication, entitled "Hazánk népe ősmythosának maradványai" (The remnants of the ancient myth of our country's people."

She was famous for her charity work, and I am quoting Gábor Téglás again: "...goodness and mercy coming from the heart have become regrettably sparse in the lives of the ladies coming from the old Magyar national homes, but they remained incorporated in every noble sense of the word in Zsófia Torma. She was there for the orphans and the pursued; she stood as a helper to the ones who needed help and in Szászváros, where so many families can give thanks for her rare goodness, her name will remain in memory through the times, just because of these facts..."

The archeologist, who works in the field with a shovel in his hands, has to have the strength of a road-builder and the fine hands of a surgeon. Zsófia Torma stood the test from the beginning with the men. All the neglect here at home, the constant refusal of her writings, the belittling of her finds, even on the part of those, whom she honored most at the beginning (József Hampel, Ferenc Pulszky, Pál Hunfalvy), broke her strength through her soul. She came to a point in 1881, when she asked Cardinal Lajos Haynald (1816-1891), to secure for her the job of a Magyar lady-in-waiting to Stefania, the wife of Crown Prince Rudolf , who was a Belgian Princess. Even though, most assuredly, she would have called attention to the virtues of her homeland, it is good, that this action failed, since, after this time, came her most important finds, among others, that it was not the Dacians, but a Turanian population from 3000 years earlier, whose remains she preserved, a population connected to Troy and Mesopotamia (Babylon, as it was called at that time), and saved them from destruction.

I have read in several places, that Zsófia Torma's results were attributed to her "ingenious female intuition", as if one could gloss over the fact, that she was simply more intelligent and more diligent than her colleagues, whom she preceded by exactly thirty years. Her Tordos excavations, which began in 1875, were followed only in 1905, by a similarly Neolithic excavation in Vinca, near Nándorfehérvár, in which the written texts were much poorer.

The fruit of the work of this diligent lady-archeologist, her collection of 10,384 pieces, was bought by the Erdélyi Nemzeti Múzeum Érem- és Régiségtára (The Medal and Antiquities section of the Erdély National Museum). Since she had spent her considerable wealth on her research and charity work, she could not secure a new housing for her collection in her older days, so she let it go for five-thousand forints and eight-hundred forints a month life-time stipend. Counting her finds piece-by-piece, her archeological finds would show a greater number, but many people asked samples from her and she gladly shared them, no matter how much work was expended in their excavation.

Here is an excerpt from the letter of an Oxford archeologist and historian, Francis Haverfield: "...I hardly dare to ask, but as you know, archaeologists are very shameless, so could you please lend me a few pieces from these treasures? I would like to add to my collection three more idols, three vertebrae, and that interesting, four sided object..."

Zsófia lent material happily, I suppose packed, to everyone. The archeologist from Oxford never invited Zsófia to Oxford to hold a lecture; others excluded her from professional literature and Heinrich Schliemann, whom she much honored and popularized, rejected her request for a foreword for her book (1882). Whether this happened because she was a woman, and it would have been uncomfortable for the leading man of science to refer to her work, or because she was a giving, helping character, it is hard to tell for sure from a distance of 130 years.



5. Her familiarity with professional literature

Zsófia was very well versed and up-to date in both the professional literature at home and that outside Hungary, even though in those days there were no computers to activate and to click the search button.

She supported her theses with the works of Magyar, German,. French, English, Greek and Latin authors. She was familiar with Strabo and Berossos, as well as with the writing of Kristóf Lukácsi, based upon Armenian sources, entitled "A magyarok őselei" (The ancestors of Magyars), the newly printed book of József Huszka, concerning the Turanian decorative art, or the writings of Jenő Bánó, in which he compares the identical customs of Mexican Indians and the Magyars. She studied the myths and customs of different people, from clothing to dance.



6. Her thoroughness and method of research

One can already form an opinion of her thoroughness in research by reading her list of sources from professional literature. She sent her finds to scientists in this field to study them, for example the metal objects to Otto Helmnek in Danzig or the petrified leaf-imprints to Dr. Kurtz in Berlin.

This thoroughness led her to use for the first time in the world the inclusion of related sciences in her archeological work: she consulted anthropologists, zoologists, chemists, linguists, botanists, historians, ethnographers, geologists, mineralogists, orientalists, historical sciences, numismatists. It is their work she used, or sent them finds to study.

With these she established connections between different fields, and a greater opportunity arose to study the origins of different cultures. This method led to her conclusion that the Tordos, Trojan and the earliest Sumerian cultures originated from a common source. In her "Ethnographische Analogien" we find comparisons in religious, astronomical and anthropological writing, linguistics, decorative arts and even dance culture.



7. Her scientific correspondence

Besides this complex, many sided and comparative method, she also elevated to a scientific research level her correspondence with her colleagues. To accomplish this she needed to be in command of at least three languages and the professional international language of archeology. Her partner in correspondence was the already- mentioned John Lubbock (1834-1913), an English scientist, who, when he was elevated to lordship, chose at his initiation the name of Avebury, a stone circle akin to Stonehenge, and, in his book, entitled: Prehistoric Times, he showed Campagna's axe-cover on which there was rovás (runic) writing, which can be presented as being connected to the Magyar rovás.

Furthermore, she corresponded with Archibald Sayce (1845-1933), an English linguist and Sumerologist; Francois Lenormant (1837-1883) a French archeologist and Sumerologist, who determined the identity of the Sumerian and the Ural Altaic languages; Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890), who found Troy in 1871 (under the hill of Turkey's Hissarlik); and the one, whose letters compensated her for all the slights she had suffered, the then 82 year-old Lajos Kossuth (1802-1894), who was also interested in ancient archeology.



8. Her views of ancient history

The excerpts below are not exact quotations from her writing entitled "The remnants of our people's ancient myth", from 1896. (Babylon = Mesopotamia, Sumer), Babylon's ancient people were, according to cuneiform scripts, the Sumerian-Akkadian people, who belonged to the Turanian race whose beliefs, ceremonies, writing and customs still reverberate, after 6000 years in the ethnology, life and customs of our Aryan people.(She used the expression "Aryan" to refer to people who started out, as she called it, on the Turanian plateau, the Scythian-Hun-Avar-Székely-Magyar population.)

The Sumerian-Akkadians, who also belonged to the Altaic family of nations, were of Turanian race, and it is from here that some Akkadian elements found their way into the Magyar language. (It was not known in those days, that the Akkadian belonged to the Semitic race, and the language and writing was not their own, they only adopted them.) She wrote the following of the Sumerian-Akkadian language: "That much is certain, that they stood closer to the East-Indian Dravidians, than the Türkish, or the Finno-Ugrians." Interestingly, this coincides with the opinion of another scientist who was persecuted by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Bálint Gábor Szentkatolnai of Erdély, who believed that the language of the Tamils, the Dravidian, is related to the Magyar language. Although I have no knowledge that these two - Szentkatolnai and Torma - knew one another in person, they had a common friend: Antal Hermann (1851-1926), historian of literature and ethnographer. According to Zsófia Torma, the Székelys are Magyar groups, who, as the remaining Huns of Attila, settled in the eastern border mountain regions of Erdély, even before Prince Árpád's arrival, and still live there. The Magyars, upon their return, found Scythian people in the Duna-Tisza region, and as related people, assimilated into them.

"The noble status of the number seven originated in the number of Babylonian planets, and became part of our ancestors' thinking, like the seven groups, seven dukes.... and the seven lions of the ancient Magyar coat-of-arms, representing their family."

"But if the identical finds appear in so many group-forms, as in the cultic connections of my collection, where the Babylonian influences are so striking, it is without any doubt, that the makers of these finds, their creators, acted upon the same influences, and that these artists, or master craftsmen belonged together, and the racial identity of their peoples cannot be in doubt, based upon the above."

The very early presence of the Magyars in the Carpathian Basin was established by Zsófia Torma, when she discovered that the deer, the carved antler of which was found in the Nándor Cave, and which lived in the last Ice Age, was familiar to the inhabitants of Erdély, and they used the form of the deer as decoration on their clay vessels, clothes and carpets, a decoration that was not derived from "cultural influences."



9. Decorations, master-signatures or writing?

Zsófia Torma was steadfast in her belief that the signs on the Tordos vessel fragments are writing-signs or letters. The non-Magyar scientists, with the exception of Lubbock, were not familiar with the ancient writing of the Magyars, the rovás-writing, and so they could not support her in this subject. The English linguist, Orientalist and Sumerologist, Archibald Sayce acknowledged that some Asian letters may be related to the signs on the Tordos finds, but because of the repeated use of the Zs and T rovás letters, he concluded that they must be decorations. Among the scientists at home, her brother, Károly Torma, who was an archeologist, was willing to accept these inscriptions to be only signs of names, master-signatures. Pál Hunfalvy strongly stated, disallowing the possibility of contradiction, that the Magyars did not have any writing before becoming Christians, and that the Hun-Székely rovás was invented by some scientists of the 17th century.

So Zsófia remained alone with her opinion, according to which, on her numerous clay disks, the ancient Magyar rovás writing and numerical signs can be found, among which she identified the following letters: NY, ZS, T and C. Apart from these, Sándor Forrai identified the rovás letters A, B, C, D, F, G, J, P, SZ, thanks to Mrs. Fehér, Anna Walter, who made 150 drawings accessible. János Makkay, professor of archeology, published in his wonderful book of 1969, entitled The Tatárlaka Finds a sign-collection, which he named the Tordos sign-group.

American researcher, Shan M. M. Winn published a book in 1981, in which he collected the signs of the Tordos-Vinca culture. He copied 320 signs from their fragments and grouped them according to various aspects. In addition to the previous ones, I found the CS, GY, I, end K, middle K, M, O, Ö, R, S, U, Ü, V, Z letters, and the BL, IB, ID, JD, ISZ ligatures; furthermore, the words BABA and SAS (doll and eagle) in cleverly drawn ligature form. So with the exception of E, LY, N, TY, 28 letters of the presently-called Székely-Magyar rovás writing can be identified on the Tordos, and the M in the Nándor find, which is also in Zsófia's collection. It can be certain, that during another research, focusing on the rovás writing, the missing four letters would surface on the objects, on which the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 20, 50, 10 rovás numbers can also be identified.

In modern times, Gábor Szakács had the opportunity to study the rovás letters in the Sun pyramid in Bosnia and, based upon these letters, the mutual consensus is that the Tordos-Vinca culture spread far more to the south, than it has until now been believed.



10. Those who acknowledged and appreciated her

First of all, those of her homeland, the people of Hunyad County, who were interested in archeology and ancient history.

Flóris Rómer(1815-1889), the founder of Magyar archeology.

Count Géza Kuun (1837-1905), archeologist, Orientalist, Academician and Member of the Upper House of the Parliament.

Gábor Téglás geologist, archeologist and professor at Déva (1848-1916).

These last two were colleagues of Zsófia in the writing of the first volume of the book: History of Hunyad County.

Bishop Arnold Ipoly, author of the Magyar Mythology, who declared of Zsófia's study concerning the Neolithic settlements of Hunyad County (1879): "I have never read a better, up to the point study about ancient archeology."

Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902), German anthropologist, university professor.

Lajos Kossuth (1802-1894), premier of Hungary .

Pál Gyulai archeologist, writer, the editor of the book "From Zsófia Torma's Correspondence." (1972).

Mrs. Fehér, Anna Walter who translated the Ethnographische analogien in 1973, with the professional added text of Gábor Jáki and published it in Buenos Aires.

Miklós Érdy, doctor, archeologist, historian.(1974)

Shan M.M. Winn,who worked up the Tordos sign-system and who mentioned Zsófia Torma in his book, which was published in 1981 in America.

György Mandics, mathematician, wrote the following in 1987: "The discovery of the European Neolithic age began in April of 1875, when András Vén, teacher in Tordos knocked on the door of Zsófia Torma with a knapsack full of broken pottery...".

János Makkay, professor of archeology, published his book entitled: Studies in Memory of Zsófia Torma in 1999.

Ida Bobula and Veronika Marton, Sumerologists.

Magdolna Tulok remembered her in 1999 in the Havi Magyar Fórum, on the 100th anniversary of her death.

Ferenc Badiny Jós gallantly stood up for her in his book: Mahgar a Magyar, because Géza Komoróczi, the professional mocker of the Sumerian-Magyar relationship, called Zsófia obsolete.

Some other people who praised her were Irén Kiss and László Tábori, who organized in 2007 a memorial conference in the Magyarok Háza (Hungarian House) in Budapest.

Along with Gábor Szakács, I called attention to Zsófia Torma's work and its significance in some 400 lectures concerning rovás writing, and exhibited her enlarged portrait along with that of Sándor Forrai in the lecture hall.



11. Disregard for her work

Zsófia Torma stood by her opinions, which she had formed in the course of her excavations, the collection of material, the study of her finds, and in her reading of the works of scientists in affiliated fields, whom she honored. Thus, she came into opposition with many honored authorities, who were considered at the pinnacle of their fields, and one of them caused not only damage to Zsófia Torma, but influenced the entire international judgment of the Magyar ancient history, which still has its marks today. In 1876, when she sent her finds to the Budapest Ancient Archeological Congress, she planned to arrange her exhibition according to the proper excavation order, the order in which she had discovered the finds. Archeologist, József Hampel, on the staff of the Magyar National Museum, editor of the Archeological Journal, took out two samples from the Neolithic collection, an urn with a face and a segment of an idol's head, stating, that they were Roman remains. Zsófia Torma demanded the replacement of these objects to their original place, since these were the two pieces the scientists of this field were most interested in. Hampel caused her harm after this episode whenever he could. He did not allow her to publish and, even after her death, he made sarcastic remarks about Gábor Téglás and Antal Hermann, who always mentioned Zsófia with words of praise at Hunyad County's Historical and Archeological meetings, stating that Zsófia was the Pallas Athena of the Magyar Scientific Olympus, the Jeanne d'Arc of Erdély's archeology. Hampel stated of Zsófia Torma's great work, which also included a rich illustration of 2500 drawings, and of her studies, that "they are not worthy of publication!" By denying her publication, Hampel achieved his goal in establishing that the Vinca site, which was discovered 30 years later, is accepted - without merit - as preceding the Tordos Neolithic sites, as far as importance is concerned, and it was never recognized that our country, Hungary, gave the first lady-archeologist to the world.

Pál Hunfalvy also recognized early on that Zsófia's finds and their comparison with Troy and Mesopotamia, with their signs and letters scratched onto the bottom of vessels, posed a danger to the Finno-Ugrian theory.

The Ethnographic Society (Néprajzi Társaság) for two years continued to allow her to believe that they would publish her work, which finally was published in Germany in the German language. József Szinnyei, a Finno-Ugrian etymologist, whose name was changed from Ferber to the afore-mentioned Magyar name, as the editor of the Erdély Museum Association, refused to publish her work. On behalf of the 2500 illustrations - which were the work of Gábor Szinte, art teacher in Déva --, along with with her main work, entitled Dácia a római foglalás előtt (Dacia before the Roman Occupation), she corresponded with the Ministry and the Academy for eight years, and took her manuscripts three times from Szászváros to Pest, in vain. Paul Reinecke, a German archeologist spent considerable time at Zsófia's house, enjoying her hospitality, and spent quite some time studying her material, receiving explanations from her. After all that, he published a study in 1896, at age 24, about Tordos, without mentioning its excavator and researcher or the elderly lady-scientist's name. Reinecke probably achieved success in his own country with similar methods, and had an unbelievable career, living 86 years.

Hubert Schmidt also achieved scientific success from Zsófia Torma's material, without mentioning her deserved merits, as did Miloje Vasics, a Croatian archeologist, who excavated in Vinca from 1908 on.

Sir Gordon Childe, the Australian archeologist was thoroughly familiar with the cultures of the Carpathian Basin, and this is supported by his work, entitled The Danube in Prehistory, a 480 page work, published in Oxford in 1929. He writes ten pages about Tordos but does not mention the name of Zsófia Torma, even though his findings never supersede those of this lady-archeologist. He cites Márton Roska, Director of the National Museum of Erdély, who did some excavation in 1910 in Tordos, and published a book in 1927 about the Neolithic Age. If we follow the time line, Nándor Kalicz published a book in 1980, entitled: Agyag istenek, (Clay Gods), in content dealing with the Neolithic and Copper Age cultures of Hungary, in which the mention of Tordos and its excavator's name is glaringly missing, even though he mentions Vinca and, in his bibliography, Márton Roska's book about Torma's collection. It is even more peculiar that, in the chapter, entitled: Troy and the Carpathian Basin, one cannot find Zsófia Torma's name, even though we can thank her alone for making this connection known to the public, and it was she, who, on account of this, suffered attacks and scornful derision.

Sir Colin Renfrew, Professor of Archeology at Cambridge University, refers to the "clever minds" of Vasiesra, Hubert Schmidt and Childe, when talking in detail about the Tordos-Vincsa culture, under the title "Before Civilization" (A civilizáció előtt) in 1999. He did not know of Márton Roska, nor did he know that six or seven-thousand years ago, there were no Trianon borders, because he constantly talks about Tatárlaka as a Rumanian archeological location. One main reference of Marija Gimbutas, the Lithuanian lady-archeologist was the work of Zsófia Torma, even though in her books she deals mostly with Vinca. For example in The Neolithic Cultures of the Balkan Peninsula(1972) Old Europe, ca.7000-3500 BC.(1973) The Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe 7000-3500 BC.(1974) Ideograms and Symbolic Designs on Ritual Objects of old Europe (1976) Old Europe in the Fifth Millennium BC. (1982), but we look in vain for her mention of our lady-archeologist and, in her reference list, it is only Márton Roska, who is mentioned. Gimbutas also places the Trianon borders in the Neolithic Age. The young English anthropologist, religious historian and ancient historian, Richard Rudgley, born in 1961, followed the footsteps of Zsófia Torma. He visited Hungary, met László Vértes, Gyula Mészáros and János Makkay, who are all part of the reference list in his book entitled Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age (Kőkor elveszett civilizációi), so he cannot be accused of being superficial. He does know about Zsófia's work, since he starts his chapter about Tatárlaka with the following sentence: "Signs,on clay vessels of prehistoric times were discovered in 1870 in Erdély, more closely in Torda, near Kolozsvár." It is true, that Torda is not near Kolozsvár, but at about 150 kilometer distance, but at least he did not write Rumania. We cannot read the name of Zsófia Torma in his writing either, but he talks about Marija Gimbutas at every turn and mentions her as the brilliant Lithuanian lady-archeologist.

Nicolae Vlassa, the Rumanian archeologist of the Historical Museum of Kolozsvár, excavator of the Tatárlaka cremation grave was also not in a hurry to publish Zsófia Torma's main work, still in manuscript form, even though it was accessible to the museum. Mrs. Fehér, Anna Walter asked him in a letter in 1961 about the manuscript. Vlassa's answer was, that it was in a state of deterioration, the pencil drawings were fading, but the Kolozsvár Museum did plan to publish the entire work in one piece. Since then - regrettably - both Mrs. Fehér and Vlassa have died, and one cannot know where the deteriorating manuscript is located, the location where it lies and fades further - this manuscript with which Zsófia Torma offered to the Academy for eight years, and through which, after a few years and a few decades so many built their own careers . We can also read from Mrs. Fehér, Anna Walter, that Zsófia Torma rests in an unmarked grave in the Szászváros cemetery. In connection with this, Irén Kiss and László Tábori learned, and brought to the attention of the participants at Zsófia Torma's conference, that the earthly remains of the lady- archeologist were transferred by the descendants of the family into the family vault in Csicsókeresztőr.

It is interesting to read the opinion of Marco Merlini, an Italian researcher on the webpage: www.prehistory.it/ftp/tartaria_tablets_ He mentions that, according to some scientists, Vlassa, as the archeologist of the Historical Museum of Kolozsvár, had access to the Zsófia Torma collection, which was stored there in the basement and that Vlassa, himself, took from here and placed into her grave the three Tatarlaka tablets. This would indicate that the famous disks with rovás signs and Sumerian pictographs were found by our lady-archeologist.

One can find some further thoughts on Zsófia's work in the professional literature of several non-Magyar authors, a bibliography edited by Márton Roska (1881-1961), archeologist, ethnographer and also the director of the Erdély National Museum. The title of his work: A Torma Zsófia gyűjtemény az Erdélyi Nemzeti múzeum Érem és Régiségtárában , (The Zsófia Torma collection in the Medal and Antiquities department of the Erdély National Museum.), 1941. Archeologist Pál Patai, in the Archeological Journal published in 1942, next to his acknowledgment, mentions some incorrectness and reminds us that Márton Roska is unable to prove that the ancient population found by Zsófia Torma was Finno-Ugrian!

With the sponsorship of the weekly Magyar Demokrata of 2006, the writer of this article and Gábor Szakács went to Tordos, Szászváros and Kolozsvár. In Tordos, even the old people no longer speak Magyar. The church seems to have been forsaken for years. The river Maros can be reached only at the ferry landing; the rest of the shore is closed by house owners living there. At this time coke bottles are floating where the world's most significant archeological excavations were held 140 years ago.

In Szászváros also, we could find no-one, who spoke Magyar. The Reformed Church seemed to have been closed for a long time. In the Kolozsvár Historical Museum, several Zsófia Torma finds are visible, among them pottery-bottoms with rovás inscriptions too, and one of them is identical with the "l" rovás letter in the Bosnian Sun pyramid.. Nowhere is the name of the lady-archeologist, Zsófia Torma, mentioned.

The Magyar Academy of Sciences never forgives anyone, who does not walk on the stagnant road of their required Finno-Ugrian theory. So we cannot find our lady-archeologist's name mentioned in the book: Erdély története, published by the Akadémia Publishers in 1986, in three volumes, a work of 2000 pages, which deals with the history of Erdély, even though it contains significant archeological materials.



12. Falsifications

Some conceal the significance of Zsófia Torma, others misrepresent her thoughts according to their own goals. Regrettably, her main work, entitled: Dacia, before Roman occupation, is turning into dust. The students of the Daco-Roman theory take hold of this title, even though in Zsófia Torma's age, the historical records name Dacia the territory of Erdély, which is bordered by the River Tisza, the lower flow of the Danube and the Dnyeszter River. Mesopotamia in those days was called Babylon; the Sumerologists were called Assyrologists; the language of the ancient Sumerian population was Sumero-Akkadian, since in those days it was not known that the Akkadians belonged to the Semitic group. Returning to the Dacians, they were fighting the Romans in 10 B.C. The battles had different outcomes, and ended in 107 A.D. with the victory of Emperor Trajan, and with the assimilation of the Dacian population. The capital of Dacia was Sarmisegetusa, and Zsófia Torma decuced from this name, that it was founded by the Sarmatians, in other words by Scythians. As she writes: "In the cultural layers of Tordos, the Dacian strongholds were not even present, and we cannot consider the Dacians for this reason ancestral inhabitants of our nation...as Herodotos mentions, the Agathyrs are the oldest population of our homeland... (they too are Scythian people.) According to Herodotos, the Scythians originated from Herakles and Hulaja, the Snake-goddess, and they had three children: (Agathürsos, Gelónos and Szkűthes).

Historian Miklós Oláh, the Bishop of Esztergom writes in his Hungaria (1536) that the Vlach population was settled by the Romans, not the Dacians, because those were expatriated by the Romans, and not settled. The Romans settled among the Vlachs in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, so they could not have lived here before Christ. But we also have other data; one would never believe that Pál Hunfalvy might have had a good idea. According to him, the Rumanians arrived only after the establishment of the Magyar state in the 10th and 11th centuries and only then wandered into Erdély.

The little book: Torma Zsófia levelesládájából (From Zsófia Torma's Correstpondence), prepared by Pál Gyulai, an archeologist from Kolozsvár, is a wonderful work. It provides many missed data. Still, he has some sentences, which need to be questioned, and they may have gotten into his book through the Bucharest edition. For example: Zsófia Torma "discovers ,while researching the origin, the meaning and the survival of the mythological symbols, that the basic symbols can be found in the folk art of the Erdély inhabitants, especially in the Rumanian folk art." (p.30) "Among the archaeologists, she was the first to recognize the connection between the Rumanian folk art, the folk-customs and the civilization of the Dacians, who at one time established a state in Erdély, and their descendants." (p.48) Contrary to this, Zsófia Torma writes, for example of the weapons-dance of the Erdély young men, the "kaluzsér" dance: "The kaluzsér dance cannot be connected with the so called Roman continuity, but it is a remnant of Babylonian origin. Because the word kalutyer in Rumanian means a monk, many believe that this is the dance of monks."

The falsification of Zsófia Torma's ideals can be seen in the following sentence too: "...in her search for truth she reached the acceptance of the most advanced theses of natural sciences of her time, the recognition of the correctness of the Darwinian teaching." An inquiring mind, like hers, who was deeply engaged in the research of ancient life-forms, had to arrive at the question: "creation, or evolution". But exactly because of her wisdom, she could not have been satisfied with these two possibilities. We cannot see in her original writings now at hand even a hint that she was a Darwinist or materialist. This is also contradicted by her good connection with Cardinal Lajos Haynald, whom she probably considered her spiritual father.

The over-emphasis on her love for the Rumanians can be attributed to the fact that the daughter of her brother, Károly Torma, married Victor Babes, a Rumanian doctor. It is very possible, that Babes could thank Zsófia for his skyrocketing career, the pinnacle of which was that he was able to work under the hand of the world-renowned German anthropologist, Rudolf Virchow. Virchow corresponded with the lady-archeologist, was her admirer, and visited her in her last year, when they walked together on the banks of the river Maros, the first location of the discovery of the European Neolithic.



13. Summary

What is then the short summary of the significance of Zsófia Torma's activities? The greatest intellectual revolution of our planet that we know of took place 8-9000 years ago, with a starting point in the Carpathian Basin. The proof of this fact was first discovered by Zsófia Torma. These archeological proofs and their ethnographical comparisons show the close connection with Troy, the Aegean cultures and Mesopotamia. The significant part of her finds consist of the disks and broken clay vessels, with their inscriptions, which connect the Carpathian Basin's Mesolithic, and Neolithic cultures to the culture of the present population living there. We call these inscriptions the Székely-Magyar rovás, and this script is the proof of Magyar presence of at least 8-9000 years in the Carpathian Basin.



14. Our mission

1. To spread the information about Zsófia Torma's work in as wide a circle as possible. Lecturers talking about Magyar ancient history should mention her significance.

2. The publishing of her hitherto unpublished, main work (which contains 2500 drawings). Its possible location is the Kolozsvár Historical Museum, Múzeum-Strada Daicoviciu 2, (old name: Bástya u.)

3. Erection of a statue. This I have discussed conditionally with Judit Józsa, ceramic artist.



15. Új életrajzi adat

In the regrettably few lexicons and professional literature, in which Zsófia Torma is mentioned, 1840 is mentioned as her date of birth. Maybe our lady-archeologist, looking down from a distant beautiful star, will not mind if this is modified. The new date is going to show her nine years older, with a birth date of 1831. The base for this modification is the obituary of November 15, 1899. Her adopted son, László Makrai wrote the following text:

" Dr. Zsófia Torma from Csicsó-keresztúr, a member of several scientific and charitable societies fell asleep for ever in her 68th year, after a short period of suffering due to a stroke, on November 14th of this year, at three-thirty this afternoon.

Love for work and knowledge, love and charity were her main characteristics. With inherited passion and untiring persistence, she collected the objects of her archeological museum and these she tried to organize, and make them a common wealth for all, from the aspect of anthropological sciences, with hard work which used up much of her life and strength. But she felt truly happy only when her heart could sacrifice on the altar of love for humanity and charitable work.

The glowing flame of scientific passion and the noble fire of her heart, distributing blessings is now forever quenched, and her cold body will rest in the local cemetery of the Roman Catholic Church, where she will be brought on Thursday, for temporary placement, on the 16th of this month at 3 pm, after a final ceremony held at her home. A Holy Mass for her soul will be celebrated on Friday, the 17th of November at 10 o'clock at the local Roman Catholic Church, the Patron Church of Csicsó-keresztúr in honor of the Lord of Heaven.

Eternal blessing to her memory!

Szászváros, November 15, 1899"

For this important date on the obituary notice, we thank Irén Kiss, culture-historian and László Tábori orient-researcher who organized the Zsófia Torma memorial conference on May 18, 2007.


Júlia Fülöp, pharmacist and local historian of the city of Szászváros, the local president of the Erdélyi Magyar Közművelődési Egyesület (EMKE, Transylvanian- Hungarian Cultural Society) has done a lot of work for the preservation of Zsófia Torma's memory and to widely distribute information about her work. One of Julia Fülöp's goals is to replace the memorial plaque on the house of Zsófia Torma. It was also she who gave correct date of her birth - on September 26, 1832 -, based upon her official birth certificate, which was found by Károly Fabich's research.

Our website: www.rovasirasforrai.hu



16. Professional literature

Translation of the title is in italics, after the original title.

Torma Zsófia: A nándori barlang csoportozat (Kolozsvár,1880, Különlenyomat) The Nándor cave complex

Torma Zsófia:
Hazánk népe ősmythosának maradványai 1896. (In: Érdy M.: A sumir, ural-altáji-magyar rokonság története, New-York,1974) The remnants of the ancient mythology of our people.1896 (In M. Érdy, History of the Sumerian, Ural-Altaic and Magyar relationship, New-York 1974)

Torma Zsófia:
A tordosi őstelep és hazánk népe ősmythosának maradványai (1897, In: előző mű) The ancient settlement of Tordos and the remnants of ancient mythology of our people. 1897

Torma Zsófia:
Sumer nyomok Erdélyben-Ethnographische Analogien,(Jéna,1894, Fehérné, Walter Anna Kiadása, Buenos Aires,1973) Sumerian traces in Erdély - Ethnographische Analogien,(Jena,1894, Published by Mrs.Fehér, Anna Walter,Buenos Aires,1973)

Badiny Jós Ferenc:
Mah-gar a magyar (2003) (Mah-gar the Magyar)

Childe, Gordon:
The Danube in Prehistory (Oxford, 1929)

Érdy Miklós:
A sumir, ural-altáji- magyar rokonság története (New-York, 1974) History of the Sumerian, Ural-Altaic and Magyar relationship, New-York 1974)

Fehérné Walter Anna:
Az ékírástól a rovásírásig (Buenos-Aires,1975) From the cuneiform to the rovás writing.

Forrai Sándor:
Az ősi magyar rovásírás az ókortól napjainkig (Antológia Kiadó, 1994) The ancient Magyar rovás-writing from ancient times to today.

Gimbutas, Maria:
The Gods and Goddesses of old Europe (Berkeley and Los-Angeles, 1974)

Gyulai Pál:
Torma Zsófia levelesládájából (Bukarest, 1972) From Zsófia Torma's Correspondence

Kalicz Nándor:
Agyagistenek (Corvina,1980) Clay Gods

Makkay János:
A tartariai leletek (Akadémiai Kiadó, 1990) The finds of Tartaria.

Oláh Miklós:
Hungária 1536, (Magvető,1985)

Patay Pál:
Torma Zsófia gyűjteménye (Archeológiai Értesítő, M.T.A.,1942) Zsófia Torma's collection

Renfrew, Colin:
A civilizáció előtt (Osiris,1995) Before Civilization

Roska Márton:
A Torma Zsófia gyűjtemény az Erdélyi Nemzeti Múzeum Érem és Régiségtárában (Kolozsvár, 1941) Zsófia Torma collection in the Erdély Museum's medal and antiquities section.

Rudgley, Richard:
A kőkor elveszett civilizációi (Gold Book, évszám nélkül) The Lost Civilisations of the Stone Age (Gold book with no date)

Téglás Gábor:
Dr. Torma Zsófia emlékezete (Déva, 1901) In memory of Dr. Zsófia Torma

Tulok Magdolna:
Száz éve halt meg az első magyar régésznő, Torma Zsófia (Havi Magyar Fórum, 1999 november) The first Magyar lady- archeologist, Zsófia Torma died one hundred years ago

Winn, Shan M. M.:
Pre Writing in South-eastern Europe (Western Publishers,1981)

Friedrich Klára:
Torma Zsófia igazsága Zsófia Torma's truth (Magyar Demokrata, 2001, 51-52., In: Friedrich Klára-Szakács Gábor: Kárpát-medencei birtoklevelünk, a rovásírás (2003) Our letter of ownership in the Carpathian Basin is the rovás writing.

Friedrich Klára:
Zsófia Torma, a woman in the service of Hungarian archeology. (Honlevél, Magyarok Világszövetségének lapja, Journal of the World Federation of Hungarians, 2007/july)

Friedrich Klára:
Zsófia Torma, a woman in the service of Hungarian archeology. (Erdélyi Örmény gyökerek, Armenian Roots in Erdély, brochures, yr.XIII, pp.149-150, 2009, Budapest.)

Zsófia Torma, a woman in the service of Hungarian archeology
Oldal tetejére