2013 Archaeological Field Opportunities in Transylvania (Romania)

Sitting at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, Transylvania (Romania) plays a fundamental role in the development of the European world. By its geographic location, it is situated on the main communication and technological axes in and out of Europe and, as a result, became a very dynamic zone of culture synthesis. At the same time, not only it has the largest salt concentration in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, but it also provides easy access to massive deposits of copper, tin, iron, gold and coal. Our programs invite students and volunteers to explore and excavate Roman Provincial society as it is impacted by the proximity of “imperial highways”, Late Iron Age Dacian life from the Burebista – Cesar prelude to conflict to the Dacian Wars, and finally, to experiment and experience life as a Daco-Roman. Furthermore, our participants can register to more than one project to expand their horizons in Iron Age and Classical archaeology, experimental archaeology, funerary archaeology, bioarchaeology and osteology.

Excavation: Roman Provincial – Life by the Imperial Road
Location: Rapolt, Hunedoara County (Southern Transylvania), Romania
Period: Imperial Roman – Provincial
Excavation dates: June 2 – July 6, 2013
More information: http://archaeotek.org/roman_provincial_settlement_excavation
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Description: Our research area is situated between the richest gold deposits in Europe, the Dacian Kingdom’s political and religious capital and its fortified satellites in the Carpathian Mountains, and Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana, the Roman capital of the Dacian provinces and the first Roman city North of the Danube, southwestern Transylvania was a highly integrated military, political, and economic region. During the Roman colonial occupation, 102-271AD, our target area around Simeria and Rapolt shows a very dynamic and intensive synthesis of Roman provincial life, where a multitude of processes of colonization and creolization take place side by side. Our project seeks to explore and understand the integration of all these structural provincial elements along the main Roman axes of communication and transport. Our excavations will aim at evaluating the importance and impact of the proximity of the main axis of movement, communication and commerce on the Roman provincial rural life, and its evolution through time.

Excavation: Dacian Acropolis – Iron Age Religious, Civilian and Military Centers
Location: Racos Commune, Brasov County (Southern Transylvania), Romania
Period: Wietenberg (Classical Bronze Age), Hallstatt, Dacian (La Tene – Iron Age)
Excavation dates: July 7 – August 10, 2013
More information: http://archaeotek.org/iron_age_fortress_excavation_and_survey
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Description: The area of the upper Olt River basin between Racos and Augustin, about 12 km in length (jud. Brasov, Romania), has yielded a very complex pattern of settlements, rivaling the Dacian Sarmizegetusa Regia capital complex. Military structures have been identified at Tipia Racosului and Tipia Augustinului. Several other settlements of various sizes have been surveyed on every hill top in the region. The most important feature of the area was the heavily fortified religious and military center of Augustin/Tipia Ormenisului. Our site of Piatra Detunata – Durduia (com. Racos, jud. Brasov, Romania) is situated approximately 4 km from the religious/military center from Augustin/Tipia Ormenisului. The LaTene site is composed by a series of fortified civilian settlements, in very close proximity to one another, spread over a complex and contrasted landscape. The importance of the site also lies in the fact that it was one of the very few that wasn’t evacuated as the Roman legions invaded Dacia in 102-106AD. We also uncovered several very rich Bronze Age votive shacks, pointing to the presence of a temple complex nearby, adding significant temporal depth to our understanding of the religious landscape.

Workshop: Experimental Archaeology – Living the Daco-Roman Synthesis
Location: Teleac, Harghita County (Central-Eastern Transylvania), Romania
Period: Late Iron Age – Imperial Provincial Roman
Project dates: June 2 – June 29, 2013
More information: http://archaeotek.org/living_the_past_workshop
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Description: By the beginning of the first century AD, the Roman Empire reached its zenith. The synthesis between Dacia and Rome, from the conquest in 102/106 until the Aurelian retreat in 271/275, sustained the Roman Empire for another two centuries. Dacians are the people most immortalized in Roman imperial statuary. The Transylvanian gold has kept Roman economy out of bankruptcy at the same time as the Dacian auxiliaries have manned the Imperial armies to the point of having an emperor of Dacian origin, Maximinus Thrax. Our workshop brings together archaeologists, craftsmen and students in order to recreate actual objects found in excavations, using Late Iron Age and Imperial Roman techniques and technologies. At the same time, all our participants will experience life as a Daco-Roman, working the ovens and the forges, building Late Iron Age workshops and houses, training in the various weapons and tactical martial fighting techniques of the day. Students and participants will make the intellectual and phenomenological journey from the academic, to the experiment and to the experiential, in the fields of pyrotechnologies, domestic crafts, weapons and tactics, and finally prehistoric building techniques and architecture.

Furthermore, students and volunteers have the option to explore our medieval funerary archaeology, osteology and/or bioarchaeology programs:

Workshop: Osteology and Bioarchaeology – Late Medieval “Crisis” populations
Location: Odorheiu Secuiesc, Harghita County (Central-Eastern Transylvania), Romania
Period: Late Middle Ages
Project dates: Osteology Session 1: June 2 – June 29, 2013; Osteology Session 2: July 14 – August 10, 2013; Bioarchaeology: June 30 – August 10, 2013
More information: http://archaeotek.org/osteology_and_bioarch_workshop
Contact e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Description: As the 15th century ends, the southeastern European frontier collapses in front of the Ottoman Turks. With the collapse of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1526, its Transylvanian territories became a political battlefield between European and the Ottoman backed princes. The aim of this project is to evaluate how major global political events impact physically the local Transylvanian populations. For that purpose, we will analyze the human remains from four different cemeteries from central Transylvania (Romania), dating from the 16-17th centuries, in terms of advanced morphology and stable isotopes.

Excavation: Medieval Cemetery – Life and Death on the Edge of Europe
Location: Fenyed-Bradesti, Harghita County (Southern Transylvania), Romania
Period: Late Middle Ages
Excavation dates: July 7 – August 10, 2013
More information: http://archaeotek.org/medieval_funerary_excavation
Contact e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Description: As Europe redefines itself in the wake of the Ottoman invasion, the Carpathian frontier still holds fast against the Eastern invaders. The local populations lived under constant social, political, economic and religious stress. During the late Middle Ages, this region goes through major political changes, and a spiritual crisis, under the pressure of Islam from the East and Protestantism from the West. The main goal of this excavation is to understand the evolution of the population within this space-time environment, the changes in the very local type of church architecture and burial patterns through time, and the variations on the Christian burial ritual during social, political and economic stress. Through a more thorough study of the cemetery and its occupants, we will also explore the different processes that led to the penetration of Protestantism in the village and then its subsequent return to Catholicism. The further study of the human remains in our osteology laboratory will provide a more detailed view of the “lived” human aspects of these transitions.

For more information on these programs, visit http://www.archaeotek.org

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