The sub-Carpathian area of Moldavia (Romania) represents the ideal framework to perform extensive ethno-archaeological research as the area harbours over 200 salt springs near which are found remarkable archaeological deposits related to salt exploitation, in particular from Neolithic and Chalcolithic times (6000-3500 BC). Nowadays, these mineral springs are still exploited at an unexpected degree of intensity by members of rural as well as of urban communities. The main research focuses on the identification of all salt springs in sub-Carpathian Moldavia and on the completion of complex ethno-archaeological research (exploitation, uses, distribution networks, trade, social contexts, symbolism, etc.) in order to propose new and more varied models for explaining prehistoric situations.
The current paper aims to present and discuss a series of funerary discoveries which indicate specific mortuary practices by the communities of the Transylvanian Neolithic and Eneolithic, both older and more recent. A special attention was given to the cremation rite, still considered an unusual practice for the period and area under research. We believe that these new funerary discoveries confirm the practice of cremation of the N-W Romanian Neolithic communities.
Oblique Air Photography for Chalcolithic Sites from Eastern Romania. Analysis and Interpretation. Some Examples
To intervene efficiently in protecting the archaeological heritage it requires precise information, as well as the exact location, the limits of the site or the geomorphological features of the area. As such, an interdisciplinary research based on non-destructive, complementary methods of investigation, which can provide precious information on the underground archaeological remains, is required. The most convenient (affordable) prospection methods employed by archaeologists are, on the one hand, surface research (fieldwalking), which provides the data necessary for a chronological setting, and, on the other, air photography, which offers the possibility to identify the buried structures. The present paper focuses on the use of oblique air photography in the study of prehistoric sites and a case for generalising such practices in archaeological research, with reference to preliminary results obtained for a number of sites from north-eastern Romania.
Animals in the Economy and Rituals of the Cucuteni Settlement from Poduri–Dealul Ghindaru (Bacău County, Romania)
The present paper represents a synthesized archaeozoological approach to the Cucuteni site of Poduri–Dealul Ghindaru (Bacău County, Romania). This study explores various roles of animals in the economy and rituals of a Chalcolithic community. Animal remains are described in terms of frequencies, anatomy and taphonomy. Temporal analysis of several characteristics, including taxonomic frequency, indicates changes in the prehistoric local economy. Types of special animal deposits are described, as well as the interpretation of their ritual meaning.
The Early Bronze Age in the area between the Eastern Carpathians and the Lower Danube constituted the topic of numerous attempts. A recent contribution concerning this theme was made by Radu Băjenaru, who presented me with the opportunity to have an updated reading of the manner in which archaeological monuments can be analysed. The critical scrutiny, rigorous analysis, direct access to sources, field experience, suggestions for classifying the impressive lot of artefacts analysed, are just some of the author’s cards. In the following, the author of these lines has only the merit of bringing to a written conclusion a number of friendly observations.
The authors’ intention is to bring to the notice of specialists a decorated disc-butted axe recently discovered east of the Carpathians, in the Moldavian Plateau. This type of axe (A1, according to the established typologies), with few known items, is a typical discovery (mainly as a component of hoards or as an individual find) for the Middle Bronze Age from the area west of the Carpathians — the Wietenberg, Suciu de Sus and Otomani-Füzesabony cultures. The microscopic investigations on the decoration techniques prove the ability of the metallurgical craftsmen to handle complex alloys, as well as a refined artistic sense, qualities used to achieve a certain impressive appearance. The corroboration of all available data on this artefact offers new possibilities for revealing the social and symbolic function of the disc-butted axes of the Bronze Age.
A Faunal Assemblage from the Iron-Age Site of Niculițel (Babadag Culture): Archaeozoologic and Archaeogenetic Data
The faunal remains were collected during the archaeological researches carried out in 1988 and 2000. The analysed assemblage consists of 902 remains, out of which four are human (Homo sapiens). The remains originate from fish, birds and mammals. The mammalian bones number 615 remains, out of which 397 were identified by species. The list of identified domestic mammal comprise cattle (Bos taurus), sheep (Ovis aries), goat (Capra hircus), horse (Equus caballus), and pig (Sus domesticus), with domestic cattle prevailing. Only three species of wild mammals were identified: red deer (Cervus elaphus), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus); the largest number of remains belongs to red deer. There is a single fragment coming from birds and six fragments from reptiles (Testudo graeca and Emys orbicularis). Fish bones are numerous (276), and the identified species are pike (Esox lucius), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), tench (Tinca tinca), wels catfish (Silurus glanis), and zander (Sander lucioperca); the highest share is represented by the common carp. Archaeogenetic analyses were carried out for some swine remains from Romanian territory, dating from the Iron Age, in order to identify their genetic profile. The analysed samples presented two different ancient haplotypes, previously described in the literature, haplotypes that sustained the pattern of spread for the domestic pigs on the European continent.
The present study takes into discussion the trade relationships between the Roman Empire and India, reflected both in literary contemporary sources and in archaeological finds. Among the different material categories (pottery, bronze objects, coins), there are many glass vessels. The majority seems to come from Alexandria or Levant, but the high number glass vessels manufactured in western or Italian style, found in the western side of the Indian Ocean, reflects the amplitude and in the meantime the specific features of these trade connexions.