Articles

Les importations grecques dans le territoire de Kosovo

The authors analyse all the archaeological finds coming from ancient Greece on the territory of Kosovo, also presenting an overview on the commercial exchanges between the actual territory of Kosovo and Greece, with a particular interest on trade routes. The social differentiation in Dardania at the beginning of the Iron Age made possible the aristocracy’s interest for the luxury products from Greece. The commercial exchanges existed from the Bronze Age. The study also focuses on the influence of Greek products on the local production in Dardania.

A salt production site at Gherla–Valea Sărată (Transylvania). Preliminary report

The article presents the preliminary results of the archaeological and ethnographic explorations of the site with remains of salt exploitation from Gherla–Valea Sărată. The site is located at ca. 1800 m south-west of the city of Gherla, Romania, and covers the valley of a salt creek measuring ca. 3000 m (N–S) × 550 m (E–W). In the northern sector of the site, around a salt water basin that was recently developed, on a surface measuring ca. 70 m (N–S) × 60 m (E–W), there were identified and studied various archaeological remains: traces from structures of wooden poles and wattle, ceramic fragments and a stone axe. They date from the Neolithic or the Eneolithic, the early and middle Bronze Age, and the modern period. The discovered remains are, by most probabilities, related to the exploitation of the salt water. In the northern and central part of the site there are numerous cavities and earth mounds, as well as other soil irregularities of anthropic origin, for which it was not possible to advance a dating. The northern part of the site yielded several structures from the recent period: two roofed salt water wells with timber shafts, both recently re-developed using fresh and reclaimed timber. Across the entire site there are several salt springs with basic furnishings. In the northern and central part of the site there are several “scalde” — pools with basic furnishings used for treatments with salt water and mud, without any supervision from healthcare personnel. Near the largest of these “scalde”, there have been discovered fragments a wayside crucifix, specific to the area. It was most likely dedicated to the curative properties of the “salt place”. According to the interviewed denizens, the saline manifestations from Valea Sărată are exploited to a large extent in the traditional economy: for cooking and preserving human food and animal fodder, and in folk medicine. Also relevant is that Valea Sărată is one of the preferred grazing locations for sheep according to the local shepherds, who mentioned that animals particularly like the grass growing in saline soils. The brine from Valea Sărată is considered by the locals and inhabitants of the surrounding villages as “the best of the area”, so that people from multiple settlements around a 10 km radius come regularly to Valea Sărată for collecting brine and for bathing. The site has a high potential for more in-depth interdisciplinary research.

The notion of justice in Roman wars and the fetial law

Both in scientific literature and popular mind the Romans are considered e the symbol of aggression, militarism and conquest, but the more thorough analysis shows that many of Roman wars were really defensive or at least began as a war of defence and Th. Mommsen’s idea of “defensive imperialism” has a good deal of sense. The fetial law with its concept of “bellum iustum” stands at the foundation of Roman idea of international relations and was (despite all possible speculations) an important step in the world of undeclared warfare of “civilized (Greeks, Carthaginians) or “uncivilized” (Gauls, Germans and others) nations. Most wars (about 60 of 100) of 5th-3rd centuries BC are depicted in Roman tradition as self-defence, while the period from the Samnite Wars till the time of Julius Caesar becomes the time of the defence of numerous Roman amici and socii. On these principles grows the global doctrine of the defence of “human civilization” against the “barbarian world” and the establishment of world order, based on law and justice. One may consider this picture as an instrument of propaganda, but many of these ideas and declarations were real truth.

The cult of Mercury in Roman Gaul and Roman Britain

According to Julius Caesar, of all the gods Celts revered Mercury the most, regarding him as the inventor of all arts. The cult of Mercury became widespread not only in Roman Gaul, which was one of the most thoroughly Romanised provinces of the Empire, but also in Roman Britain — the farthest western area governed by the Roman Empire. In both provinces Mercury was worshipped as the patron of commerce, which befitted him as the Roman god of trade and profit. At the same time, in both Gaul and Britain Mercury was syncretized with the Celtic horned god of fertility. Archaeological findings from these regions also suggest that the Mercury worshipped in Britain and Gaul during the Roman rule was also the guardian of military affairs — a role absolutely untypical of the original Roman god, but necessary for the supreme god of Celts who was the divine warrior-patron of Celtic tribes. Besides, the magical-chthonic aspect of Celtic Mercury likened him to Hermes, the god of eschatological and mystical endeavour of humankind in the religion of the Ancient Mediterranean.

La population dans le milieu rural de Capidava

The civil settlements from Capidava emerged probably next to the camp which constituted the siege of many auxiliary units. The texts attest uexillationes of the legio V Macedonica, but the camp was mainly occupied by two cohorts: I Vbiorum and I Germanorum ciuium Romanorum. Next to the cap there were the canabae and another civil settlement. I shall analyse the population coming from the civil settlements from an epigraphic point of view. I shall also discuss the origin of the population in the rural milieu of Capidava and the reasons of the newcomers’ presence in this area.

The votive relief to Pluto from Nicopolis ad Nestum

Although found more than 130 years ago and thought to be lost in the Bulgarian science, this votive monument from Nicopolis ad Nestum was “re-discovered” by the author in the exposition of the museum in Drama, Greece. The votive with the represented on it gods from the Graeco-Roman Pantheon is devoted to Pluto. The iconography of the monument is of the type Pluto on the throne. According to the inscription, Pluto is not only a chthonic deity of the Underworld, but also as “Πλούτος”–“Plutos” is the god of fertility, abundance and richness. Hermes is also depicted as “Ploutodotes“/“Κερδώος”, while Asclepius is represented as healer, giving strength and restoring, also of possibility of abundance and richness. The dedicators of the votive descent from a rich Thracian family and probably are part of the elite of Nicopolis ad Nestum. Their names reveal that these people have received Roman citizenship with the Constitutio Antoniniana after 212. The votive relief is made of a local marble, and is a work of the local masters, knowing well the iconography of the Graeco-Roman deities and the one of the imperial portraits of Julia Domna and Caracalla from the Severan dynasty.

Swastika-shaped fibulae with horse-head decorations (Almgren 232) from the Roman period in Dobrudja (Moesia Inferior)

Discovered in a large number in the Balkan-Danubian provinces of the Roman Empire, the swastika-shaped fibulae with horse-head decorations are in most cases attributed to the military. The iconographic motive and form are the artistic expression of Thracian traditions specific in the Lower Danube regions. The precursors of this type of brooches are the silver brackets found in Thracians princely graves discovered in Romania and Bulgaria dated in the 4th century BC. Chronologically framed in the 2nd–4th centuries AD, the roman fibulae are discovered mainly in military environments. On the territory of Dobroudja (Moesia Inferior), four brooches of this type are known, one at Ulmetum and three in the civil settlement near the camp of Durostum, at Ostrov-Ferma 4.

ESB in Western Black Sea

The commercial and cultural links between the West-Pontic region and the Aegean basin date well before the appearance of ESB tableware. In this article is analysed the presence of this type of pottery in the Western Black Sea. In the period between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, in this region was recorded 14 forms specific of workshops from Western Asia Minor. In archaeological sites from the Black Sea coast this type of ceramics is encountered in a larger proportion than in the inland settlements. Troesmis on the Danube line is a settlement where a significant amount of ESB has been discovered.

The conservation of the byzantine icon from Georgios Church, Jordan

The paper presents the physical, chemical and biological investigations, as well as a detail the process of restoration of a byzantine icon from Church of Saint Georgios in Ajloun, Jordan. Before establishing any treatment or maintenance procedures, it was necessary to obtain complete information about the components of the icon and its condition. Keeping in mind the original aesthetic aspect of the icon. In this effort an integrated analytical approach was used. In order to evaluate the icon’s components and degree of degradation, surface and bulk techniques were used. X-ray fluorescence using a Philips Minipal PW4025 spectrometer was used to identify the elemental composition of the preparation layer and background. For the chemical analysis, X-ray diffraction (XRD) was investigation was performed. The FTIR technique was also used to identify the media used in the application of the icon layers, as well as the type of varnish used to insulate the icon. The cleaning process is a key point in the conservation process although it is one of the most important aspects for an artwork and is considering a series of deteriorations and degradations. XRF results of the preparation layer sample revealed it consisted of Gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O), since it contains calcium (Ca) and Sulphate, analysis of red pigments showed that it was comprised of red-lead (Pb3O4). The overall efficiency of all conservation process including cleaning seems to be effective.

The medieval church of San Biagio in Cittiglio (Varese, Northern Italy). Archaeological and anthropological investigations of the cemeterial area

The old medieval church of San Biagio in Cittiglio (Varese, Northern Italy) is one of the oldest religious buildings of Valcuvia. Since 2006, the interior of the church has been under investigation to acquire historical data and to reconstruct the archaeological site. These excavations yielded a series of discoveries, such as a significant number of tombs and pictorial elements. During our first field season, we exposed several architectural phases of the church, from the 9th to the 15th century. Inside the church, a funerary atrium was discovered and it was fascinating to find several tombs placed on different chronological layers. In particular, two of these tombs are remarkable. A tomb containing the skeletal remains of a young male showed three perimortem cuts on the skull. The other one kept the bones of a woman with a spearhead at the level of the ribs. We also observed another aspect, the conspicuous presence of childhood graves. In order to better investigate the paleodemography, we needed more osteoarchaeological data. Therefore, we focused our attention on the funerary area (7.5 m North–South × 18 m East–West) immediately outside the church. The archaeological excavation, which started in March 2016, brought to light several burials. During this phase, we discovered five overlapping archaeological layers, which testified an important funerary context. In the superficial layer, we recovered fragmented human bones, coins and numerous metallic artefacts. In the underling layer, we found tombs with coins, which allowed us to date it back to the Renaissance period. Square stones of different dimensions delimited the tombs of adults, while dead infants and foetuses were buried inside shingles. In the same layer, we also recovered archaeological findings such as an iron key, an iron knife, bronze buckles and bronze rings. The anthropological data for this cemeterial phase also documented the high infant mortality together with findings of pathological indicators such as arthrosis, dental diseases and traumatic injuries.

A study on the Seleucid and Parthian seals of the Semnan Museum, Iran

Seals and clay sealings are the most valuable evidence for studying the economic, political and cultural structures of the different past societies. Due to the lack of resources to explain the various characteristics of Seleucid and Parthian material culture, studying the seals of these periods can reveal not only the artistic sides of glyptic material but to clarify the roles played by sealings in the social and economic contexts of the Seleucid and Parthian societies. Seven seals which are currently being preserved in the Semnan Museum are described and studied in the present paper. These seals have been discovered through illegal excavations. Their patterns and styles are usually influenced by Greek art elements, including animal motifs, the Greek goddess Athena and human illustrations in the majority, which is probably because of the greater attention to human and humanist perspectives among the Greek artists. The present study aims at analysing the motifs of the seals, as well as making comparisons to identify similarities with other cases found in different sites such as Tel Kedesh (Israel), Nisa (Turkmenistan) and Dura-Europos (Syria) in order to suggest a more precise dating for the mentioned seals.

A multilingual Romance-language lexicon for manufactured objects

In multidisciplinary communication, putting standardised lexicons into practice is essential in order to avoid problems such as terminological misinterpretations and ambiguity. Most standardised lexicons take English as a basis; however, in many cases Romance languages are not taken into account. In this work, lexicons for manufactured objects are presented in the main Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, and Catalan) together with the seminal English lexicon. This multilingual lexicon is organised in the style of a traditional dictionary. It concerns either past or present, original or (contemporary or not) copied items, and is intended to help people active in any field in which manufactured objects may be involved, from museum pieces to factory-made items.