An archaeologist who has been part of the restoration and excavation effort at Turkey’s Tokat Castle believes he has uncovered the dungeons where Vlad the Impaler was once held.
Ibrahim Cetin tells the Hurriyet Daily News that the two dungeons that were found were “built like a prison.” And while he deems it “hard to estimate” which room the man who served as Dracula’s inspiration was held in, “he was around here,” he says.
Cetin didn’t get much more specific than that, and the specifics of Vlad III and his captivity are equally murky. As LiveScience and Ancient Origins tell it, Vlad, born in 1431, was held by the Ottomans beginning in 1442, after he traveled with his father to a political meeting that ended up being a trap; his father was released, but Vlad and his younger brother were held, reportedly in Tokat Castle.
In the years that followed, his father and older brother were brutally killed; at some point, Vlad’s captivity ended and he began impaling Ottoman invaders and enemies.
LiveScience reports that Vlad is thought to have killed as many as 80,000 people, a quarter of whom were said to have been impaled and then displayed outside the city of Targoviste as a way to deter the invading Turks (it worked).
IBT reports archaeologists have been working at the castle since 2009 and previously found a long tunnel that the king’s daughters may have used to access a Roman bath.