Conference Proceedings




ArhIn 2015: Medieval Changing Landscape – Settlements, Monasteries and Fortification


Remarks concerning the extent and limits of the medieval settlements researched on the track of the A1 highway at Apoldu de Jos and Miercurea Băi (MS 5 and MS 1), Sibiu County

Claudia Urduzia

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At the beginning of the construction of the Orăştie-Sibiu highway during 2012 and 2013, 5 archaeological sites previously located in the area of Miercurea Sibiului (Sibiu County) were researched. Most of these sites displayed features and materials from several historical periods. From these sites (conventionally named MS 1-5) the researches carried out at Apoldu de Jos (MS 5) and Miercurea Băi (MS 1) exposed features and materials from two contemporary medieval settlements. Although both researches were limited at highway’s track, the ample uncovered surfaces, the various field observations and the old maps of the area allowed us to evaluate the extent of each settlement and to identify as well their limits. Considering the density of the features representing ruins of the old houses and the limits of each settlement a relatively accurate evaluation of the total number of houses was possible. The close analysis of the results helped both to date the settlements in the 12th Century and to establish the number of generations which inhabited each settlement.

This work was possible with the financial support of European Social Fund, Operational Programme Human Resources Development 2007 - 2013, Priority no. 1 "Education and training in support for growth and development of the knowledge society", Key Area of ​​Intervention 1.5 "Doctoral and post-doctoral research support" Title: "MINERVA - Cooperation for elite career in PhD and post doctoral research", ID POSDRU 159/1.5/S/137832.

The Sylvanian Basin in the 7th-10th centuries A. D.

The characteristics of the early mediaeval settlements

Dan Băcueț-Crișan

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The existence of several studies related to Northwestern Romania in the early mediaeval period, led to my attention a smaller geographical area, which is also a part of the Northwestern Romania. Since Sylvanian Basin is part of Northwestern Romania and the conclusions also refers to this, we considered as relevant a historical timetable of research for the entire Northwestern area, in order to highlight the progress of the investigation so far. The archaeological analysis of Sylvanian Basin took into account the geographical and geological realities, all contributing to a better understanding of the evolution of human habitat in this area, during sec. 7th – 10th centuries.

The area under discussion is called Sylvanian Basin or Central Sylvanian Basin. The geographical boundaries are drawn in Northwest by Culmea Sălajului, in the east, by Meseş Mountains and in the west, by Plopis Mountains and Sylvanian Hills.

The archaeological excavations made so far in Sylvanian Basin have shown habitats from different historical eras and artifacts dating from the VII th - X th centuries. Some areas were more densely inhabited, due to the existing natural conditions, but, on the other hand the lack of the findings or to the contrary, their abundance, may be a result of the stages of research. Following the results offered by the excavations made so far in the studied area one can notice that the settlements are located always near the water, on the first or on the second terrace of the rivers. The organization / structure and internal topography of the settlements from the 7th – 10th centuries in Northwestern Romania in general and Sylvanian Basin, in particular, are two issues that are very little known, because most of the archaeological excavations carried out in these settlements had a limited character. The archaeological features researched in these settlements are of several types: dwellings, households, garbage pits, storage pits and open air fireplaces.

Archaeological recoveries. The medieval church from Vărădia de Mureș (Arad county)


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Zsolt CSÓK


The study aims to present new data and interpretations of the plan of a medieval church revealed by the archaeological research conducted decades ago in Vărădia de Mureș, in the place locally known as ”La Cetate”. Evidence found on site and the analysis of the original documents preserved in the archives of the Museum of Arad, bring some corrections to the already published data about the church. Our intention is to find a correlation between the original general plan and a new topographic survey and to attempt a reconstitution of the building using this data.

The four archaeological campaigns (1971-1974) revealed elements of stratigraphy, plan and material culture dating from at least three distinct historical period, Dacian era, Middle ages (13th - 16th Centuries) and the beginning of the Ottoman occupation (16th -17th Centuries). There are few written sources about the medieval church from Vărădia (in Hungarian Tótvárad, in German Waradia) in the timeframe approached in this study. Thus, the only certain information isthat the church was part of the county and the archdeaconate of Hunedoara.

This prompted us to begin this project which provides yet unpublished information regarding the new archaeological discoveries, supplemented with analysis and modern methods in order to promote the medieval church of Vărădia, which is undeservedly little mentioned in the field literature of today.

An changing image. The Early Medieval landscape at Lower Danube. Case. Study: Hârşova

Cristina Paraschiv-Talmațchi

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Archaeological research carried out in recent years at Hârşova (Constanţa County), in two early medieval settlements (one open settlement, and the other one fortified), offered us the chance to analyze, through comparison, of the transformations experienced by these settlements from Lower Danube at the end of 8th century – 11th century A.D. These relate primarily the factors that have determined the choice of the terrain for their location, changes that occurred in the layout of the settlements and what determined them, observation of housing structures, the way that the events from the end of 10th century A.D. changes the human perception regarding the surrounding landscape and its rapport with them. Through the analyze of different components (settlements, waters, forests, fortifications, quarries etc.), we try to establish the landscape features from Hârşova, from the Early Middle Ages.


Odessos - Varna (beginning of 5th - late 12th century) according to the excavations of the Roman baths and its environ zones in Varna

Valeri YOTOV

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Alexander MINCHEV

The excavation of the large public Roman baths of Odessos in the 60ies of 20th c. and later some rescue ones conducted in its environ zone helped to accumulate a lot of information about the urban changes in the city of Odessos (medieval and modern Varna) during Late Antiquity (5th–6th c. AD) and in Medieval period (10th–12th c.).

It was established that during 5th-6th c. AD the layout and urban facilities of Roman Odessos underwent specific changes. These included closing and narrowing of streets, making new pavements of them overlaying the old ones of 2nd-3rd c. AD and building continuously new water supplying systems. Over some Roman streets new edifices have been erected and in the debris of original premises of the already abandoned Roman baths rude houses have been constructed. They were in use until early 7th c. AD, when the city was captured by Avars and Slavs, burnt to ashes and abandoned for several centuries.

The excavation of the baths revealed that first new settles made their dug-out houses in its premises only after 971, when Byzantium incorporated again in the Imperium the city and all lands of former Bulgarian state. They existed until 1048, when the Pechenegs invaded the North Balkan territories of the Empire and later settled there.

It seems that they build their homes again in the former Roman baths, all this proved by several coin hoards and typical finds. In the late three decades of 11th c., these houses were ruined and over them one or two churches were built and a cemetery around them appeared.

The churches served the local community who live in the same area of Medieval Varna, already fortified by a new fortress wall running not far from them.




Using database to analyze the Arpadian coins discovered in the churchyard cemeteries from Transylvania

Silviu Istrate PURECE

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As part of the database dedicated to the medieval ecclesiastical monuments in Transylvania, built in in the context of the research project: South Transylvanian Medieval Monuments: Past, Present, Future. Between Archaeology, History and 3D Modellin, we constructed a section devoted to monetary finds. The goal of our presentation is to provide an inventory and an analysis of the coins discovered during the archaeological excavations on medieval churchyards situated in Transylvania. So, at this research stage, it stands out a differentiation between churchyards from the north central Transylvania and those from southern Transylvania, except Haţeg Land. In the first case are present arpadian coins from the 11th century, in the second case the oldest coins are from Geza II. In our analysis, we observe that most of the coins are placed on the mouth in the 11th and the 12th centuries, rarely, the coins are putted in the hand. There are no concrete cases in which the coin is putted on the sternum. Another feature of those churchyards it is the dominance of the graves without inventory, also the rarity of the burials with coins. We observed that the anonymous denars dominate the monetary horizon in the 12th century. We should note the case of Geoagiu de Jos, where is a big number of coins issued by Coloman. The coin presence in graves as Obolus is more rarely beginning with the mid of the 13th century. The coins from the second part of the 13 century are almost missing. It is also noted that some coins from graves were cut or torn; it is possible that these coins have been prepared so to be part of the funeral ritual, which possible mean a symbolic destruction of the object.


Reflections on the archaeology of Transylvania’s medieval churches: a re-evaluation of the church in Densuș

Daniela Marcu Istrate

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One of the most interesting churches of Transylvania, the church in Densuș attracted the attention of the specialists ever since the 18th century. Ample archaeological researches were undertaken in the 1960’s, then resumed in the 2000’s: almost the whole interior of the church has been investigated and almost all the exterior ground near by the church has been excavated too. However, we still have no coherent archaeological picture of the situation even thou the monument’s archaeological load has been all but depleted. Over time archaeologists, historians, architects proposed for the erection of this church various dates, which vary wildly from the 4th to the 15th century. In my paper I will analyze the ascertained factual data, the opinions advanced by the specialists and I will communicate the inedited results of the very first archaeological excavations undertaken at Densuș. Taking into account the current state of research, by analogy with the church recently uncovered in Alba Iulia, I will also propose a revision of the timeline.


Reconstruction after Destruction. The Effect of the Mongol Invasion on Ecclesiastical Architecture in Transylvania

Maria Crîngaci Țiplic

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One of the most important events in Transylvanian history and Hungarian history was the Mongolian Invasion in 1241–1242. The damages were more deep and at a wider scale in Hungary than in Transylvania basin. Medieval chronicles and later written sources describe the mournful and dramatically events of the Mongol Invasion. As we all know, the most important chronicles are Carmen miserabile by Rogerius of Apulia, Notitia Eppternach and the Rashid od-Din’ work: Djami oz-Tevarikh. From the very beginning, we have to admit that the subject under discussion (Mongol Invasion in Transylvania) is supported by a rich historiography which has been treated the topic from the perspective of mentioned documents.The most important scholars who have addressed the issue are D. Onciu, A. Sacerdoţeanu, A. Decei, V. Spinei, Ş. Papacostea, P. Iambor, T. Sălăgean etc. From the archaeological point of view for Transylvania there is no study designed to include an overview of archaeological data concerning Mongol Invasion. So in this context, in my presentation I will focus on a comparison between medieval written sources about the Mongol Invasion in Transylvania and the data provided by archaeological excavation conducted both at the rural parish churches and at the urban medieval churches from former county seats.


The Patrimony of Saxon churches from Transylvania. The importance of Neicov registers

Cosmin Ignat

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The Saxon churches from Transylvania passed, over the centuries, through many changes of their architectural, artistic and defensive parts. Their evolution is based on a community united by common values which retains its identity despite the attempts that confronts.

In the past time have disappeared, unfortunately, valuable items once belonging to the Saxon churches. Through inventories, which we will bring into question in this study, we follow the dynamics of community wealth. But this study will not focus on the analysis of objects of the communities but will pursue the churches inventories that today are very helpful to us.

We chose to analyze inventory records, made mostly in the year 1967, or around this year, known in the literature as the Neicov inventories.