Romania Archaeology

By | December 23, 2021

Investigations continued in all areas of archaeological research, but there are no substantially new data for prehistory and the Bronze Age. The culture of Suciu de Sus has recently been the subject of great enhancement, showing a gradual evolution towards Hallstatt with the abundant findings of the burial necropolis of Lăpuş in Maramureçs (objects in bronze and iron but above all ceramics, characterized by a great variety of shapes and decorated with great skill, using grooves, alveoli, protuberances, excisions and engravings of geometric motifs). For Romania 2014, please check thesciencetutor.org.

Some fortunate discoveries that occurred almost simultaneously in the 1970s in Wallachia and Moldavia greatly enriched the series of “ treasures ” of northern Thrace, the attribution of which to the Getae and the general chronology, fixed between the middle of 4 1st century BC and early 3rd century. These are funerary objects composed largely of silver pottery, weapons and small plates for trimmings of harnesses and clothes. Many objects of this type were found in Peretu (Wallachia), in a bronze cauldron buried in front of a tumulus tomb which also contained the depositions of dogs and horses, while in Băiceni (Moldova) numerous pieces of gold of such a dismembered kit. Other tombs with similar materials have been reported in Găvani and Stînceçsti, always in Moldova. The objects fall into typologies already exemplified locally by the grave goods of Agighiol’s tomb and by various sporadic finds. The most representative are the precious metal containers (jugs and patere, smooth, pods, or with vegetable motifs), the pieces of parade armor (characteristic of the ogive helmet, with apotropaic eyes on the front and figured scenes on the paragnatides), the harness trimmings (animal head shaped plates, fronts with protome in the round, buttons, open applications with abstract and zoomorphic figures). Silver is especially used as a material, with gilding on the decoration. The vascular forms are of Iranian origin, but mediated by southern Thrace; the decoration, showy and disorganized, follows parallel lines, drawing from the animalistic style the preferred zoomorphic motifs for the ornaments of harnesses, from the Greek and Iranian art the prototypes of some scenes with characters and figurative formulas of various kinds; other themes, such as the ‘voracious beast’, perhaps ebb from Western Europe. The origin of this eclectic toreutic, widespread above all in the Getic territories north of the Balkans, from Dobruja to upper Moldavia (but unknown in Carpathian Dacia), is not yet fully clarified: it is probably a sumptuary production carried out largely from local workshops for the small dynasts of the area. perhaps they flow back from Western Europe. The origin of this eclectic toreutic, widespread above all in the Getic territories north of the Balkans, from Dobruja to upper Moldavia (but unknown in Carpathian Dacia), is not yet fully clarified: it is probably a sumptuary production carried out largely from local workshops for the small dynasts of the area. perhaps they flow back from Western Europe. The origin of this eclectic toreutic, widespread above all in the Getic territories north of the Balkans, from Dobruja to upper Moldavia (but unknown in Carpathian Dacia), is not yet fully clarified: it is probably a sumptuary production carried out largely from local workshops for the small dynasts of the area.

The particular and constant attention of Romanian archeology for the so-called ” La Tène Geto-Dacico ” has now clarified its vast scope, its original aspects and the ability to adapt external stresses to one’s needs; all factors that place this culture among the most advanced in protohistoric Europe. Its salient feature remains the fortified settlement in a dominant position, which usually includes a sanctuary complex. The excavations of Feçtele Albe have explored another such settlement, coeval with the well-known ones of Blidaru, Costeşti, Sarmizegetusa, etc., and also included in the defensive system of the Dacian citadels of the Oraştie massif. It developed on five terraces with imposing retaining walls, the first occupied by circular houses with stone plinths, the third from a round sanctuary. The masonry reinforcements remain a peculiarity of the citadels of Oraştie, but similar installations are also attested outside the Carpathian territory. Of particular interest is that of Ocniçta in Oltenia, where recent excavations have revealed an inhabited area protected by a system of fortifications that was arranged on three heights, partly artificially arranged in terraces. Three main phases have been identified, between the 2nd century BC and the beginning of the 1st AD One of the heights received an acropolis layout, with various sacred and residential buildings whose layout was specified. There is a rectangular peripteral temple and a square construction with three underground rooms, where, among other things, an unusual bronze mask was found. Among the excavated materials, various ceramic fragments with graffiti inscriptions, both Latin and Greek, have aroused particular interest; some bear the ancient name of the locality (Buridava). Graffiti reopens the problem of the knowledge of writing in the Geto-Dacian world, already raised by a well-known vase by Sarmizegetusa on which the inscription Decebalus per Scorilo, of a controversial interpretation, is stamped in Latin characters.

For the Roman Dacia, important results were achieved by the excavations of Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, where the systematic exploration of the area north of the amphitheater has brought to light the remains of numerous extra-wall cult buildings, rebuilt several times during the 2nd century. The most notable are a Liber Pater sanctuary and an Asklepieion which included several plants in a fenced area. Although the buildings are almost all very simple, some particular typologies reflect the composite character of the population of the province and its religious syncretism. In fact, among the chapels of the Asklepieion there is a small temple with a Gallo-Roman type veranda, while the plan of the temple of Dionysus Liber Pater, with a triple cell on the rear side of a courtyard, it takes up a solution particularly widespread in the African provinces, of which the cult originated; a basin located in the center of the court itself also implies the ritual use of water, which was practiced in many sanctuaries of Dionysus, especially in the Greek-Eastern and Syriac areas. The lively artistic activity of the Roman Dacia has been investigated more and more extensively and with particular attention to the peculiarities of local provincialism, of which perhaps the most interesting expression is funerary sculpture, notable for the elaborate decorative systems of the steles and the vigorous stylization of the scenes banquet, in forms that already herald the late antiquity. With regard to the Roman province of Moesia Inferiore, the foundation of the Adamclisi museum (1977) deserves to be mentioned, where all the sculptural decoration of the Trajan’s trophy is collected. The important monument continues to fuel controversies, both on the reconstructive problems, of which it seems difficult to reach a complete solution, and on the interpretation of the historical events depicted in the metope frieze (perhaps a re-enactment of a decisive battle that took place on the spot, rather than of the Dacian wars as a whole).

The beautiful wall paintings, perfectly preserved, of an arched chamber tomb from the 4th century AD, accidentally discovered in Constance in 1988, aroused great sensation. The decoration includes a lively banquet scene, on the back wall, and various repertoire motifs., distributed between the lunette above the entrance and the frieze that runs along the back of the vault. The subjects (doves at the basin, hare eating grapes, peacocks, flowers and trees) are all linked to the themes of paradise and rebirth. The vivid polychromy and the casual technique (especially effective in portraits of banquets and in the naturalistic performance of animals) make this complex one of the most important examples of late Roman painting in the provinces.

Romania Archaeology