Scientific report for the period 2013-2015

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 were introduced records dated from 2014, there has been developed the project’s most important tool.  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.  There has been created the webpage of the project (http://www.rlrc.ro/) which comprises the description of the project, the team members, the up-to-date results and the news related to the activities undertaken. 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 2014-2015 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 individually uploaded into the database.
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 four hundred titles. There has been created and published also an exhaustive biography which comprises titles concerning this limes sector.

In the frame of a wide series of museum-pedagogical activity  organized by our project team 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, the manner of use, and the production techniques of various Roman artefact categories.

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 of 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 terms of publications the output of the project staff  in 2014 comprises 6 studies issued in journals indexed in international databases, 10 book chapters and contributions to collective volumes issued at prestigious publishing houses as well as 4 articles published in unindexed journals or forthcoming collective volumes, 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 or prepared for publishing 3 books, 2 articles indexed in international databases (ISI), 10 articles published in journals indexed in national journals, 9 book chapters or studies to collective volumes issued at prestigious publishing houses as well as 4 studies in press in unindexed journals or collective volumes, 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.

At the workshop organized at Târgu Mureș by the project on the 15th of November, 18 presentations in English, covering various aspects of the eastern limes of Dacia, were given in total. 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 valorification 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 there has been organized the 9th Conference for Young Researchers of the Roman Age. 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. 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.

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 two abovementioned sites (Brâncovenești Călugăreni). 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 2014-2015 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 şi 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 analyzed 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 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 analyzes as 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 consists of a low number of fragments. During the old excavations the excavators collected only the fragments which were considered representative or relevant. 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 hypothetic 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 10 fabric types.

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 samples from Brâncovenești, Călugăreni and Sărățeni




  • Constanze Höpken, Ömür Dünya Çakmaklı: Fragile Splendour. Glass in the Medusa collection in Gaziantep / Narin Pırıltı. Gaziantep Medusa Cam Koleksiyonu, Verlag Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, Bonn, 2015. ISBN: 978-3-7749-3935-6.


  • Constanze Höpken, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Máté Szabó, András Szabó, Manuel Fiedler, Gregor Döhner, Antal Kosza: Wachtürme am Dakischen Ostlimes zwischen Brâncoveneşti und Călugăreni, Kreis Mureş, Rumänien. In: Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 45, 2015 (forthcoming).
  • Alpár Dobos: Notes on the weapons and weapon depositions from cemetery 3 at Bratei (Sibiu County, Romania). In: Transylvanian Review 24/4, 2015 (forthcoming).
  • Marcin Baranowski, Małgorzata Daszkiewicz, Dávid Petruț, Gerwulf Schneider: Moesian or Dacian sigillata – A provenance study by WD-XRF and P-XRF. In: Metalla. Archäometrie und Denkmalpflege Sonderheft 7, 2015, 95–97.
  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél: The Roman Fort from Călugăreni (Mureș County, Romania). In: Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies, Ruse, Bulgaria, September 2012, Bulletin of the Institute of Archaeology 42, 2015, 909–916.
  • Monica Gui, Dávid Petruț: Illuminating the Soldiers’ Homes. The Evidence of Lighting Devices from the Barracks of Forts and Fortresses in Roman Dacia. In: Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies, Ruse, Bulgaria, September 2012, Bulletin of the Institute of Archaeology 42, 2015, 259–268.
  •  Sorin Cociș, Ovidiu Țentea, Silvia Mustață: The bibliography of Roman Dacia IX (2006-2010). In: Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology 2/1, 2015, 80–114.
  •  Constanze Höpken: Pottery production in Roman Cologne: A summary of old and new finds. In: Journal of Roman Pottery Studies 16, 2015, 93–104.
  •  Constanze Höpken: A dichroic bottle fragment from Dülük Baba Tepesi, Turkey. In: Journal of Glass Studies 57, 2015, 292–295.
  • Constanze Höpken, Edith Schmidt: Stubenfliegen im römischen Köln: Puparienreste aus einer gallischen Weinamphore. In: Archäologie im Rheinland, 2014, 126–127.
  • Doru Bogdan, Constanze Höpken, Manuel Fiedler: Kult in offenem Raum? Untersuchungen in einem Heiligtumsbezirk in Apulum (Alba Iulia, Rumänien) 2013 bis 2014. In: Kölner und Bonner Archaeologica 5, 2015 (forthcoming).
  • Constanze Höpken, Frank Mucha: Verpacktes Farbpigment? Inhaltsanalysen zu einer römischen Amphore aus Köln. In: Kölner Jahrbuch 48, 2015 (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, 2015 (forthcoming).
  • Silvia Mustață, Sorin Cociș: A Roman bronze basin found at Micia (Mintia, Vețel Commune, Hunedoara County). In: S. Cociș, V.-A. Lăzărescu, M. Gui, D.-A. Deac (eds.), Ad finem Imperii Romani. Studies in honour of Coriolan H. Opreanu. Cluj-Napoca, 2015, 301–310.
  • Silvia Mustață: Pouring the water, offering the wine. Instrumenta sacra depicted on votive altars from Roman Dacia. In: N. C. Rișcuța, I. V. Ferencz, O. T. Bărbat (eds.), Representations, Signs and Symbols. Religion and Magic. Proceedings of Symposium on Religion and Magic. Cluj-Napoca, 2015, 317–336.
  • Constanze Höpken: Cervesia für Bonn? In: P. Henrich, Ch. Miks, J. Obmann, M. Wieland (Hrsg.), Non solum … sed etiam. Festschrift für Thomas Fischer zum 65. Geburtstag. Rahden/Westf., 2015, 195–198.
  • Constanze Höpken: Fern-, Regional- und Lokalhandel im römischen Rheinland und der Konsum von Öl, Wein und Bier im Bonner vicus. In: Th. Schmidts, M. M. Vučetić (Hrsg.), Häfen im 1. Millennium AD. Bauliche Konzepte, herrschaftliche und religiöse Einflüsse. RGZM – Tagungen 22, Interdisziplinäre Forschungen zu den Häfen von der Römischen Kaiserzeit bis zum Mittelalter in Europa 1, Mainz, 2015, 133–140.
  • Alpár Dobos: Notes on artefacts with punched decoration discovered in the late row-grave cemeteries in Transylvania. In: S. Cociș, V.-A. Lăzărescu, M. Gui, D.-A. Deac (eds.), Ad finem Imperii Romani. Studies in honour of Coriolan H. Opreanu. Cluj-Napoca, 2015, 107–128.
  • Alpár Dobos: Weapons and weapon depositions in the late row-grave cemeteries in Transylvania. In: C. Cosma (ed.), Warriors, weapons, and harness from the 5th–10th centuries in the Carpathian Basin. Ethnic and Cultural Interferences in the 1st Millenium B.C. to the 1st Millenium A.D. 22, 2015, 57–88.
  • Szilamér Péter Pánczél: Róma + Székelykapu = Mikháza / Rome + Székely gate = Călugăreni. In: C. Gaul, Zs. Vasáros (eds.), Identitás és kultúra 2 / Identity and culture 2. Ipartanszék füzetek 3, Budapest, 2015, 16–17.
  • Lóránt Vass: Kedves Olvasó! / Dear Reader. In: C. Gaul, Zs. Vasáros (eds.), Identitás és kultúra 2 / Identity and culture 2. Ipartanszék füzetek 3, Budapest, 2015, 8–11.
  • Manuel Fiedler, Constanze Höpken, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél: Porolissum. Forschungen im Kastell auf dem Pomet von 2009 bis 2011. In: Gedenkschrift für Veit Stürmer (forthcoming).
  • Silvia Mustață: History rediscovered. The story of four Roman bronze vessels. In: Instrumentum. Bulletin du Groupe de travail européen sur l´artisanat et les productions manufacturées de l´Antiquité à l’époque moderne 41, 2015, 26–33.
  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Máté Szabó: Dacia keleti limese – a tájban élő történelem. In: Várak, kastélyok, templomok, 2015, 94–97.
  • Constanze Höpken, Manuel Fiedler: Einfache Keramik im römischen Kult: Form, Ware und Manipulation. In: SFECAG, Actes du Congrès de Nyon, 2015 (forthcoming).
  • Constanze Höpken: Les vases aus serpents: approche taxonomique et contextuelle. In: SFECAG, Actes du Congrès de Nyon, 2015 (forthcoming).
  • Dávid Petruț: Vincze Zoltán, A kolozsvári régészeti iskola a Pósta Béla-korszakban (1899–1919) [The archaeological school of Cluj during the Béla Pósta era (1899‒1919)], Kolozsvár [Cluj-Napoca], 2014. In: Acta Musei Napocensis 49, 2014 (forthcoming).
  • Dávid Petruț: A régészetelmélet eszmetörténeti alapjai (Molnár Zsolt: A kőkortól a bronzkorig. Az ősrégészeti kutatás elméleti alapjai, Kolozsvár 2014). In: Erdélyi Múzeum 77, 2015, 162–164.







Kollaps – Neuordnung – Kontinuitäten. Das Theissgebiet nach dem Untergang des Hunnenreiches, Budapest, Hungary, 14th–15th December 2015 (forthcoming)


  • Alpár Dobos: On the edge of the Merovingian culture. Row-grave cemeteries in the Transylvanian Basin in the 5th-7th centuries


Keramiktag, Mayen, Germany, 5th December 2015 (forthcoming)


  • Constanze Höpken: Nordafrikanische Importe im spätantiken Köln


Régészeti geofizika az ELTE-n, Budapest, Hungary, 16th November 2015


  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Máté Szabó: Hézagpótlás. Dácia keleti limese tájrégészeti szempontból
  • István Bajusz: Porolissum utóélete


Glastag, Perl/Borg, Germany, 17th October 2015


  • Constanze Höpken: Gläser im Medusa-Glas-Museum in Gaziantep


XXIII. Limes Congress, Ingolstadt, Germany, 14th–20th September 2015


  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Daniel Cioată: The Fortlet of Vătava (Mureș County, Romania). A Transylvanian Fairy Tale
  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Máté Szabó: Filling the Gaps. Looking at the Landscape on the Eastern Limes of Dacia
  • Katalin Sidó: Possible pottery production in the Roman settlement from Brâncovenești (poster)


Verbandstagung des West- und Süddeutschen Verbands für Altertumsforschung, Erfurt, Germany, 15th–19th June 2015

  • Constanze Höpken: Bauer und Bürger – Stadt und Land. Lebensmittelversorgung in städtischen und ländlichen Siedlungen Niedergermaniens


L’Illyrie Méridionale et l’Éprie dans l’Antiquité. VIe colloque international, au Musée National de Tirana, Tirana, Albania, 20th–23rd May, 2015

  • Manuel Fiedler, Gregor Döhner, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél: Ancient settlement stuctures between Apollonia and Durres: Results of a survey project at Babunja (rr. Lushnje)


Conference de la Société Française d’Étude de la Céramique Antique en Gaule (SFECAG), Nyon, Switzerland, 14th–16th May 2015

  • Constanze Höpken: Les vases aux serpents


The 9th Conference of for Young Researchers of the Roman Age, Târgu Mureș, Romania, 8th–10th May 2015

  • Dávid Petruț: Indirect evidence regarding the military pottery production in Buciumi (Dacia Porolissensis) and the question of ‘legionary ware’
  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Manuel Fiedler, Gregor Döhner: Searching for a lost town
  • Silvia Mustață, Gabriela Gheorghiu: History rediscovered. The story of four Roman bronze vessels
  • Katalin Sidó: Pottery production in the Roman settlement from Brâncovenești. The analysis of the ceramic material
  • Máté Szabó, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél: Első világháborús harcok Dacia keleti limesén


Häfen von der Römischen Kaiserzeit bis zum Mittelalter. 3. Plenartreffen, Jena, Germany, 19th–21st January 2015


  • Constanze Höpken: Amphorenfunde der zweiten Hälfte des 1. Jahrhunderts aus dem Kölner Hafen





Colocviul național Frontierele Imperiului Roman în Dacia: Limes Forum IV, Sovata, 4th–6th December 2015

  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Máté Szabó: Peisaj și arheologie pe limes-ul estic al Daciei
  • Katalin Sidó, Szilamér-Péter Pánczél, Daniel Cioată: Materialul ceramic din turnul roman de la Vătava
  • Nicoleta Man, Daniel Cioată: Cercetări arheologice în termele castrului de la Călugăreni


Maros megye és Marosvásárhely történetéből, Târgu Mureș, 28th November 2015

  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél: A keleti limes. Stratégia és kutatás vs. kutatásstratégia


Colocviul național de arheologie: Arta în Dacia romană între civil și cazon, Turda, 23rd–24th October 2015

  • Dávid Petruț: Considerații asupra artei funerare romane din mediul militar al Daciei. Cazul monumentelor de la Brâncovenești


Táj, kép, örökség. IX. Csíkfalvi Csűrszemináriumok, Vărgata, 1st–4th July 2015


  • Szilamér-Péter Pánczél: A római limes mint európai kultúrtáj


Simpozionul național de arheologie “25 de ani de cercetare arheologică fundamentală și săpături preventive la Institutul de Arheologie și Istoria Artei al Academiei Române”, Cluj-Napoca, 14th–15th May 2015

  • Alpár Dobos: Arme în cimitirul 3 de la Bratei