Scientific report for the period 2013-2016

Concerning the implementation of the project “Digitizing the Roman limes. Sector: Brâncovenești-Sărățeni

The most important scientific activity of the team in 2013 (September-December) was the elaboration of an on-line database structure in order to classify the information related to archaeological sites and material. By creating and testing the database, in which records were introduced from 2014 on, the project’s most important tool has been developed.  The forms, the records and the interface of the database is in English and is accessible via an account and password on the project web page (http://www.rlrc.ro/database/). After the end of the project the database will be accessible for the public.  The webpage of the project (http://www.rlrc.ro/) has been also created where the description of the project, the team members, the up-to-date results and the news related to the activities undertaken are to be found. In order to have major impact within international scientific communities, the language of the web page is English.

The main task of the project team for the period 2014-2016 was to upload data into the online database, as part of a general effort aimed at the systematization of the available information concerning the sites of the auxiliary forts from Brâncoveneşti and Sărăţeni, as well as the minor fortifications from Eremitu (Dealul Tompa, Cetatea Săcădat), Chiheru de Jos (Dealul Pogor), Ibăneşti (Cetăţuia mică), Ideciu de Jos (La Stâncă) and Vătava (Cetăţele), as well as the ditches from Glăjărie and Câmpul Cetății. In conformity with the contextual data available for the material, the finds relevant from a chronological and functional point of view were also individually uploaded into the database.

For the better implementation of the project on an organizational level, a Roman Limes Research Centre was established within the Gurghiu Section of the Mureș County Museum. This centre will function also after the finalization of the project, its main task being the maintenance of the database and coordinating the future researches on this section of the limes.

Due to a comprehensive documentation effort a consistent bibliographical fund was created which comprises publications related to the sites of this limes sector, and the related archaeological material. This fund contains above five hundred titles. In 2015 there has been created and published also an exhaustive bibliography which comprises titles concerning this limes sector.

In the frame of a wide series of museum-pedagogical activities organized by our project team (2R, 3R and 4R festivals from Călugăreni), we managed to promote the work and results of the project for a very large public which is also measurable by the noteworthy presence in the regional and national media. In the same time we had the opportunity to approach topics related to everyday life in the Roman period (diet, cosmetics, textile production, stone-working, pottery production, metal-working, gaming, fashion, military equipment, etc.) through the methods of experimental archaeology. This approach was extremely helpful in the interpretation of functionality, of the manner of use, and of the production techniques of various Roman artefact categories.

Based on the results of this project, in collaboration with the architects from the University of Technology and Economics from Budapest, between 2013 and 2015 a student competition was annually organized regarding the possibilities of architectural valorisation of Roman sites on this sector of the limes. The results of these competitions were presented by the annual itinerant exposition entitled “Identity and Culture”, exhibited in Budapest, Târgu Mureș, Călugăreni etc. With these occasions a total of three collective volumes were also published with articles regarding this sector of the limes and the architectural concepts presented at the competition. These activities majorly contributed to the dissemination of the results of the project for a larger scientific and for a larger public as well.

In 2015, as a result of the activities of the project team, the Archaeological Park of Călugăreni was founded (the site being a category A historical monument, consisting of: the auxiliary fort, the military vicus together with the baths and the preserved Roman road network). Two pavilions for exhibitions were built on the site, called “Time box”. Instead of a temporary exposition planned in the project it was decided upon a permanent one in these pavilions about the results of this project regarding the limes and the Roman army in this corner of the Roman Empire. The exhibition opening was held on the 6th of May, 2016 with the participation of more than 100 guests. Until now the expositions had more than 3000 visitors from Romania and from abroad and we hope that in the future it still will be a major tool for the dissemination of the project’s results for a larger public. With the occasion of the exhibition opening a final press conference was held as well regarding the results of the project.

In the meantime the members of the project were involved in a series of adjacent activities, organized by the Mureș County Museum, like the Night of the Museums (Roman cosmetics workshop: Ars Unguentaria, the opening of the exhibition “Avar warriors in Transylvania”), the Days of Open Gates at the Gurghiu Castle etc., all these having a major contribution to the visibility of the research team and of the results of the project.

In 2013 the scientific results of the team members were presented at 3 international and 4 national/regional conferences, organized in Romania and abroad, in the form of 10 oral presentations. It should be noted that for 2013 there were not any conference attendance planned in the project.

In 2014 the scientific results achieved by the members of the team were disseminated in the course of 15 international conferences, 3 national and regional conferences held in Romania and abroad, comprising 30 oral presentations and 2 poster presentations. It is important to emphasize that a number of 10 conference attendances were included in the accomplishment plan of the project for 2014.

In 2015 the scientific results of the team were presented at 10 international and 5 national/regional conferences organized in Romania and abroad, in total with 22 oral presentations and 1 poster. We need to emphasize that for 2015 only 5 conference attendances were included in the accomplishment plan of the project for 2015.

In 2016 the scientific results of the team members were presented at 8 international conferences and 3 national/regional ones organized in Romania and abroad, consisting of 13 oral presentations and 4 posters. It should be mentioned that a number of 5 conference attendance were planned for 2016 in the project.

In 2013 the collective of the project published one article in a non-indexed journal, though for that year none were planned in the achievement plan of the project.

In terms of publications the output of the project staff  in 2014 comprises 5 studies issued in journals indexed in national databases (BDI), 10 book chapters and contributions to collective volumes issued at prestigious publishing houses as well as 2 articles published in non-indexed journals, and a review. It is important to emphasize that a number of 5 publications were included in the accomplishment plan of the project for 2014.

In 2015, in terms of publications, the project team has published 3 books, 7 articles published in journals indexed in national databases (BDI), 8 book chapters or studies in collective volumes issued at prestigious publishing houses as well as 3 book chapters and studies accepted for publication in collective volumes issued at prestigious publishing houses, 2 articles in non-indexed journals, and 2 reviews. It is important to emphasize that a number of 5 publications and two books were included in the accomplishment plan of the project for 2015.

Regarding the publications in 2016, the team members have published or prepared for publishing 2 books, 3 articles in internationally indexed journals (ISI), 5 articles in nationally indexed journals (BDI), 3 book chapters or studies in collective volumes issued at prestigious publishing houses as well as 2 studies in non-indexed journals or collective volumes and 4 accepted for publication in non-indexed journals or collective volumes. It should be noted that for 2016 only 5 articles and 2 books were planned in the accomplishment plan of the project.

At the workshop organized at Târgu Mureș by the project on the 15th of November 2014, 18 presentations were given in English, covering various aspects of the eastern limes of Dacia. The wide range of discussed subjects  were related to topics such as digitizing archaeological data, history of research, the general and particular chronology of the researched area, the material culture and the Roman architectural structures, results of the non-invasive investigations as well as the valorisation of the region’s touristic potential and cultural heritage. Following the presentations a highly fruitful round-table meeting was held in which new research strategies, approaches, and objectives were proposed for the future period for the same region.

Between the 8th and 10th of May 2015 the 9th Conference for Young Researchers of the Roman Age has been organized. The international conference was held in Târgu Mureș. In three days of the conference the 74 participants delivered 54 scientific presentations. The young researchers from four countries had the chance to discuss issues related to Roman provincial archaeology and the limes of the Roman Empire.

Our project team in collaboration with the National History Museum of Transylvania has organized in Sovata the National Limes Fourm IV colloquium, on the 4th – 6th of December 2015. This event aimed to continue the consecutive meetings of specialists of the Roman frontier in Romania as well as to provide a forum for debates related to this research domain. The meeting also encouraged the collaboration between different museums, research institutions and universities from Romania in order to contour and implement the “Limes Dacicus” national program. A visit to the archaeological park from Călugăreni (commune Eremitu) as well as a session of 12 scientific presentations – held by 22 participants – was included in the meeting’s programme. The conferences from 2015 were not included in the plan of activities for this year, and they have been financed from the funds of the Mureș County Museum.

Between the 25th and 27th of November 2016 the project team, financed by the Mureș County Museum will organize a conference entitled “Archaeologia Transylvanica” where a separate panel will be dedicated for the researches on our section of the limes, and where, in a festive atmosphere the volumes published as results of the project, as well the database will be presented to the public.

The reassessment of our information concerning the old excavations at Brâncovenești Călugăreni, Sărățeni, Ibănești and Vătava was based on two fundamental aspects. The first step of this process took into consideration the old excavations undertaken in the abovementioned sites. Based on the published data and the documentation kept in the archives, the team managed to identify those component elements of the researched structures which where documented by excavators. This phase was crucial in the revaluation of the stratigraphy and the correlation of the hitherto unpublished material with the reconstructed contextual data. It must be mentioned that this effort resulted in a highly unequal outcome which was determined by the fact that the field research undertaken at Brâncovenești covered much larger areas, compared to the situation at Sărățeni Călugăreni, Ibănești or Vătava.

The field research in 2014-2016 was carried out in two large campaigns (a spring campaign and a summer campaign), and consisted of field-walking, topographical survey and a metal detector survey. The archaeological data was completed by the results of the geophysical measurements (geomagnetic and electric resistivity) as well as by aerial archaeology surveys. The main goal of the intensive surveys undertaken at Călugăreni, Sărăţeni and Brâncoveneşti was to determine the extent and the structure of the civil settlements (vicus) pertaining to the forts and to georeference the plans based on the old excavations, which turned out to be unreliable in their original form. The finds were collected systematically according to individual 25 x 25 m grids. The collected material comprises Roman, prehistoric, medieval and modern artefacts.

Regarding the small sites (towers, ditches, road segments), our researches focused on their precise mapping as well as on checking some points already mentioned in the special literature, or identified by the aerial archaeological surveys. Due to the non-destructive archaeological researches the list of the sites belonging to this limes sector has been considerably enriched.

Concerning the finds processing, emphasis was placed on the contextual information linked to the material rather than on the finds themselves. For instance, a digital distribution map was created for every site based on the field-walking results, which was superimposed on the plan of the geophysical measurements. The distribution pattern of the finds confirmed the anomalies displayed on the geophysical plan, but it also helped to identify new clusters of archaeological material which require future geophysical surveys. Based on the field-walking the concentration of different categories of finds (tiles, daub, bricks, pipes, hypocaust elements, iron slags or different type of pottery vessels etc.) was mapped which might help in assessing the character of different areas within the inhabited perimeter but also the manner of use of various artefacts, allowing this way a general evaluation of the everyday life and the economy of the settlements.

The processing of the finds recovered during the old excavations were completed likewise according to a complex approach. These finds were sorted conforming both to material and the archaeological contexts. The finds were not only registered individually, but the special artefacts were restored and the most relevant and remarkable objects were recorded with 3D photography.

The processing of the pottery finds from Brâncoveneşti, Sărăţeni, Vătava and Ibănești comprised the functional, typological, technological and contextual analysis of the finds. The main goal was to obtain an optimum amount of scientific data from the respective pottery assemblages. The material was recovered during the old excavations prior to 2013 and have not been analysed with modern methods up until the present time. During the first stage of the process the information linked to each fragment was individually registered in a database. The fragments which were considered representative from a typological and technological standpoint were digitalized in order to create a reference group for the pottery finds from the respective sites. A reference group for the local pottery production was also created by classifying the fabric types encountered using macroscopic and microscopic methods. Subsequently, through the integrated analysis of these assemblages important information was recovered concerning the composition of the ceramic assemblages, the local production but also the way of use of certain vessels. A considerable part of the ceramic material cannot be linked precisely to any structure, only to the fort or vicus themselves. A consistent pottery assemblage from the vicus of Brâncoveneşti comes from a pottery workshop. Within this assemblage a large variety of fabric types could be identified which can be linked directly to the ceramic production of this workshop.

Among the material recovered from forts and vici a group of fragments characteristic to the category of imported and local terra sigillata (also termed as ‘terra sigillata imitations’) consisting of fine tableware and other artefacts (lamps), could be identified. In the case of this category the proper assessment of the production place is unfeasible using macroscopic methods, consequently the employment of archaeometric methods was decided. A number of 20 representative samples selected from the assemblages were sent to the ceramic archaeometry laboratory of the „Excellence Cluster Topoi” from Berlin. The samples were analysed using the pXRF method, and the results were compared with reference groups for terra sigillata fabrics from across the Roman Empire. As a result of this analysis it was possible to pinpoint the production place of these artefacts, revealing important information concerning the commercial relations of the region in Roman times, as well as the supply of the sites with import products and aspects of local pottery production.

The majority of Roman sculptural monuments and inscriptions from Brâncoveneşti were discovered in the defensive ditch of the fort. Their investigation according to the standard modern methods in the field was deterred by the extremely fragmentary state of the material, due to the fact that they were intentionally broken and reused as building material during the Roman age. An integrated analysis based on functional, epigraphic and iconographic aspects was attempted. The first stage consisted in the reassessment or reinterpretation of the functionality of fragments belonging to funerary stelae, funerary altars and elements of funerary constructions. In certain cases more individual fragments could be linked with the same monument. The integrated analysis of the sculptural material conveyed important information concerning the choices of funerary representation and commemoration determined by the cultural and ethnic identity of the community members. Sculptural monuments and inscription are much less in number at Călugăreni and Sărățeni. Although they do not permit a thorough and complex analyse like the ones from Brâncoveneşti, they provide extremely important information concerning the artistic and cultural manifestations characteristic for this Roman provincial environment.

The CBM assemblages from Brâncoveneşti, Călugăreni and Sărăţeni consist of a low number of fragments. During the old excavations the excavators collected only the fragments which were considered representative or relevant, mostly the stamped ones or complete ones. The material consists of roof elements, drainage system, hypocaust heating system as well as construction elements. The analysis of the material was based on typological, functional, and technological aspects, with a focus on the fabrics. Based on this material, hypothetical reconstructions of roof systems were completed, according to the dimensions and morphological characteristics of the finds. The pipes, the chimney pots, the spacers and bricks can only be found in low numbers. The fabrics analysis was accomplished using macroscopic and microscopic methods, and resulted in the definition of typical fabrics used in the local workshops. In parallel the stamps present on some of the CBM, representing the military units stationing in the region, were also analysed, not only from a stylistic or typological point of view but also with an outlook on the fabric types used by the different military workshops.

The classification of most of the metal artefacts was hindered due to the poor state of preservation. Because the classification was based on the aspect of functionality, it resulted in 4 large groups: ornamental and garment elements, military equipment and weapons, tools and domestic instruments, structural elements (nails, hooks). Slag with high metal concentration was identified occasionally. There were undertaken archaeometirc analyses on some slag samples from Brâncovenești, Călugăreni and Sărățeni.


  • Alpár Dobos, David-Timotei Petruț, Sándor Berecki, Lóránt Vass, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Zsolt Molnár-Kovács, Péter Forisek: Archaeologia Transylvanica. Studia in honorem Stephani Bajusz. Erdélyi Múzeum Egyesület, Cluj-Napoca, 2016. ISBN: 978-606-739-036-0.


  • Constanze Höpken: Entscheidende Wandfragmente: Untersuchungen zum Inhalt von Amphoren aus Köln und Bonn. In: Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 46/1, 2016, 101-112.
  • Constanze Höpken, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Máté Szabó, András Szabó, Manuel Fiedler, Gregor Döhner, Antal Kosza: Wachtürme am dakischen Ostlimes zwischen Brâncovenești und Călugăreni (jud. Mureș/RO). In: Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 46/2, 2016, 241-254.
  • Alpár Dobos: Notes on the weapons and weapon depositions from cemetery 3 at Bratei (Sibiu County, Romania). In: Transylvanian Review 24, Suppl. 2, 2015, 209-227.


  • Silvia Mustață, Iosif Vasile Ferencz: The Roman bronze vessels from the Dacian fortress at Ardeu (Hunedoara County, Romania). In: Archaeologia Bulgarica 20/4, 2016 (forthcoming).
  • David-Timotei Petruț: The implications of indirect evidence regarding the military pottery production in Buciumi (Dacia Porolissensis) and the question of ‘legionary ware’. In: Acta Rei Cretariae Romanae Fautorum 44, 2016, 643-649.
  • Dan Dana, David-Timotei Petruț: A military graffito on a pottery plate from the auxiliary fort at Buciumi (Roman Dacia). In: TYCHE – Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte, Papyrologie und Epigraphik 30, 2015, 19-24.
  • Bogdan Doru, Constanze Höpken, Manuel Fiedler: Kult in offenem Raum? Untersuchungen in einem Heiligtumsbezirk in Apulum (Alba Iulia, Rumänien) 2013-2014. In: Kölner und Bonner Archaeologica 5, 2015, 167-176.
  • Constanze Höpken: Mimusops: ägyptische Heilpflänze und römisches Glas. In: Kölner und Bonner Archaeologica 5, 2015, 251-257.
  • Constanze Höpken: Ägiptisch Blau aus einem Kölner Handwerkerviertel. In: Kölner Jahrbuch 49, 2016 (forthcoming).
  • Constanze Höpken: Römische Gläser der Sammlung Niessen auf der Saalburg. In: Saalburg Jahrbuch 50, 2016 (forthcoming).
  • Alpár Dobos: Plunder or ritual? The phenomenon of grave reopening in the row-grave cemeteries from Transylvania (6th–7th centuries). In: Annales Universitatis Apulensis. Seria Historica 18/II, 2014, 2016, 135-162.
  • Constanze Höpken, Frank Mucha: Verpacktes Farbpigment? Inhaltsanalysen zu einer römischen Amphore aus Köln. In: Kölner Jahrbuch 48, 2015 (forthcoming).


  • Szilamér Péter Pánczél: Keretbe zárt történet / A story in frames. In: C. Gaul, Zs. Vasáros (eds.), Identitás és kultúra 3 / Identity and culture 3. Ipartanszék füzetek 4, Budapest, 2016, 12-15.
  • Constanze Höpken:  Régészek és építészek: egy felfedezetlen kapcsolat – egy új párbeszéd? / Archaeologists and architects: an unexplored relationship – a new dialog? In: C. Gaul, Zs. Vasáros (eds.), Identitás és kultúra 3 / Identity and culture 3. Ipartanszék füzetek 4, Budapest, 2016, 16-19.
  • Koppány-Bulcsú Ötvös: A pavilonok – gondolatok egy ácsmunka margójára / Pavilion – thoughts on a work of carpentry. In: C. Gaul, Zs. Vasáros (eds.), Identitás és kultúra 3 / Identity and culture 3. Ipartanszék füzetek 4, Budapest, 2016, 34-37.


  • Daniel Ciotă, Koppány-Bulcsú Ötvös: Roman military equipment from Sărățeni. In: Marisia. Studii și materiale. Arhelologie, vol. 34-35, 2014-2015, 2016, 31-38.
  • Nicoleta Man, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Daniel Ciotă, Manuel Fiedler, Coralia Crișan, Sorin Cociș, Silvia Mustață, Alpár Dobos, Lóránt Vass, Katalin Sidó, Koppány-Bulcsú Ötvös, David-Timotei Petruț: Călugăreni, jud. Mureș. Punct: Castrul roman, termae și vicusul militar de la Călugăreni. In: Cronica cercetărilor arheologice din România Campania 2015, București, 2016, 22-24.
  • Constanze Höpken: Amphoren aus dem zivilen Vicus von Bonn. In: Bonner Beiträge zur Vor- und Frühgeschichtlichen Archäologie (forthcoming).
  • Constanze Höpken: Schlüssel und Schlösser aus Doliche. In: Asia Minor Studien (forthcoming).
  • Constanze Höpken: Ultramarinblau-Pigment aus dem Kloster des Mar Salomon auf dem Dülük Baba Tepesi. In: Asia Minor Studien (forthcoming).
  • Enikő Bitay, Irén Kacsó, Claudiu Tănăselia, Dorottya Nyulas, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Erzsébet Veress: Vassalak leletek a római limes erdélyi, Maros megyei szakaszáról (Marosvécs, Mikháza, Felsőrépa). FTIR és XRF spektroszkópiai jellemzés. In: Műszaki Tudományos Közlemények / Papers on Technical Science 5, Cluj-Napoca, 2016, 105-108. ISSN 2393–1280.





Adalbert Cserni and his contemporaries. The pioneers of archaeology in Alba Iulia and beyond, Alba iulia, 15th-19th April 2016

  • Katalin Sidó: First recordings of CPAI stamps from Călugăreni (Mikháza) – Mureș County. Pioneers of smallfind saviours
  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Zalán Győrfi: The archaeological collection of Kovács Ferencz
  • David-Timotei Petruț: From aristocratic internationalism to romantic nationalism. Notes on the ideological background of antiquarian and archaeological activities in 19th century Transylvania

Roman glass furnaces. Contexts, finds and reconstructions in synthesis, Perl Borg, Germany, 11th-12th June 2016

  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél: Glass furnaces in Roman Dacia
  • Constanze Höpken: The glass workshops in Cologne with a special focus on Eigelstein 35-37

Interdisciplinary scientific workshop on human-nature interactions, Cluj-Napoca, 21st-24th April 2016

  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél: The limes and the Seklers. A dichotomic approach

Nineteenth Roman Military Equipment Conference. RoMEC XVIIII: Cavalry in the Roman World, Saint Andrews, Scotland, 6th-11th June 2016

  • Koppány-Bulcsú Ötvös, Daniel Ciotă: Newly discovered military equipment from the Eastern limes of Dacia (poster)

30th Congress of the Rei Cretariae Romanae Fautores “New Perspectives on Roman Pottery: Regional Patterns in a Global Empire”, Lisbon, Portugal, 25th September – 2nd October 2016

  • Malgorzata Daszkiewicz, David-Timotei Petruț, Marcin Baranowski, Viorica Rusu-Bolindeț, Gerwulf Schneider: Moesian and Dacian sigillata – exploring regional patterns

A XXI. Fiatal Műszakiak Tudományos Ülésszak Előadásai / Proceedings of the XXIth International Scientific Conference of Young Engineers, Cluj-Napoca, 17th-18th March 2016

  • Enikő Bitay, Irén Kacsó, Claudiu Tănăselia, Dorottya Nyulas, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Erzsébet Veress: Vassalak leletek a római limes erdélyi, Maros megyei szakaszáról (Marosvécs, Mikháza, Felsőrépa). FTIR és XRF spektroszkópiai jellemzés

European Symposium on Atomic Spectrometry, Eger, Hungary, 31st March – 2nd April 2016

  • Enikő Bitay, Irén Kacsó, Claudiu Tănăselia, Dana Toloman, Ioan Bratu, Dorottya Nyulas, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Erzsébet Veress:  Spectroscopic characterization of iron slags from the archaeological sites Brâncovenești, Cãlugãreni and Vãtava located on the Mureș County sector (Romania) of the Roman Limes (poster presentation)


Fifth Balkan Symposium of Archaeometry, Sinaia, 25th-29th September 2016

  • Enikő Bitay, Gheorghe Borodi, Dana Toloman, Claudiu Tănăselia, Irén Kacsó,  Dorottya Nyulas, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Erzsébet Veress: Characterization of iron slags from the Brâncoveneşti, Călugăreni and Vătava sites of the Limes Dacicus Orientalis (Mureş County, Romania) (poster presentation)


Aerial Archaeology Research Group (AARG) 2016 Annual Meeting, Pilsen, Czech Republic, 7th-9th September 2016

  • Szilamér Péter-Pánczél, Máté Szabó: The Roman military site from Sighișoara (Romania) – an aerial achaeological approach (poster presentation)



Artă și meșteșug. Atelierele ceramice din provinciile Dacia și Moesia Inferior, Cluj Napoca, 23rd-25th June, 2016

  • Silvia Mustață: Observații tehnice și funcționale privind ceramica funerară din necropolele de la Alburnus Maior
  • David-Timotei Petruț: The question of ‘legionary ware’ in light of the finds from the auxiliary fort barracks in Buciumi (Dacia Porolissensis)
  • Nicoleta Man, Daniel Ciotă: Pottery workshops from the Roman vicus of Cristești
  • Katalin Sidó: Producția ceramică locală în castrul roman de la Brâncovenești


Metodă, teorie și practică în arheologia contemporană. In memoriam Alexandru Vulpe, București, 30th March – 1 April 2016

  • Alpár Dobos, Szilárd Sándor Gál: Morminte din epoca hunică descoperite la Sângeorgiu de Mureş – “Kerekdomb”. Analiza arheologică şi antropologică