Pécsely is in the Transdanubian part of Hungary, inland from the shore of Lake Balaton (Maps 1.1 and 1.2). It nestles in a small valley surrounded by gentle hills that open towards the lake like an amphitheatre. The flatland areas within the valley are adequately fertile for grain and pasture, while the hillsides are eminently suitable for vinegrowing. Several small streams criss-cross the valley, some marked by ruined water mills. The enclosing hills form a natural boundary separating the basin from the surrounding villages and marking a natural limit to the határ, that is, land belonging to the village. 1 The geographic unity of the Pécsely valley (see Map 1.3) draws attention to the rigidity of the socially created boundaries that kept apart three tiny local communities in the basin until 1940.