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ACTA TERRAE SEPTEMCASTRENSIS V
Editor: Sabin Adrian LUCA (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Members: Paul NIEDERMAIER (membru corespondent al Academiei Române), (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Dumitru PROTASE (membru de onoare al Academiei Române) (Universitatea „Babeş-Bolyai” Cluj-Napoca); Paolo BIAGI (Ca’Foscary University Venice, Italy); Martin WHITE (Sussex University, Brighton, United Kingdom); Michela SPATARO (University College London, United Kingdom); Zeno-Karl PINTER (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Marin CÂRCIUMARU (Universitatea „Valahia” Târgovişte, România); Nicolae URSULESCU (Universitatea „Al. I. Cuza” Iaşi, România); Gheorghe LAZAROVICI (Universitatea „Eftimie Murgu” Reşiţa, România); Thomas NÄGLER (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Secretaries:Ioan Marian ŢIPLIC (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Silviu Istrate PURECE (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Web editor: Cosmin Suciu
A stone oven from the early Middle Ages discovered at Hunedoara-Grădina Castelului
Muzeul „Castelul Corvinilor” Hunedoara,
Cristian C. ROMAN,
Muzeul „Castelul Corvinilor” Hunedoara,
Un cuptor de piatră din evul mediu timpuriu descoperit la Hunedoara-GrĂdina Castelului
- rezumat -
În timpul cercetărilor arheologice dela Hunedoara-Grădina Castelului, cercetări reîncepute în 1996 de către Prof. univ. dr. Sabin Adrian Luca, a fost descoperit un cuptor construit din blocuri de calcar dolomitic. Această instalaţie de foc era prevăzută cu un şanţ cu lăţimea de circa 1 m, ce permitea cel mai probabil accesul la cuptor şi o groapă, aflată în imediata apropiere, pentru depozitarea cărbunilor de lemn şi a cenuşei. Din demontarea cuptorului şi lângă acesta, în umplutura şanţului, au fost descoperite patru vase ceramice întregibile, ce datează (având în vedere caracteristicile lor) acest complex arheologic în a doua jumătate a secolului al X-lea – prima jumătate a secolului al XI-lea. Funcţionalitatea acestui cuptor, considerăm noi, este una casnică (cel mai probabil folosit pentru gătit), ceea ce poate veni în sprijinul ipotezei conform căreia în această zonă a existat o aşezare aparţinând acestei perioade.
The thorough archeological research works from Hunedoara – conducted in the Grădina Castelului (the research team was set up by univ. prof. dr. Sabin Adrian Luca starting with 1996 and the authors of this study were a part of it. We hereby express our gratitude towards our professor for his kindness in offering us these materials to be brought to public attention and for his outermost useful advice), have continued in the year 2001 as well, when the 16 x 4 meter sized trench S IV/201-2002 (plan 2) was opened and placed in the south-eastern side of the site (plan 1). On this occasion two complexes were identified, chronologically assigned to the Early Middle Ages period (Luca et alii. 2002, 154. The dating the authors then proposed was the 9 th-10 th century p.Chr.). Among these, the oven C 1, as we will call it, was situated in the south-western half of the surface (plan 2A), showing a size of 1,54 x 1,20 meters (plan 3B, picture 4) and the appearance of a stone agglomerate made of dolomitic limestone blocks of medium and large sizes (50 x 24 centimeters were the sizes of the largest stone) lying on dark brown – reddish spongy soil (plan 2B, number 10; picture 2). The oven presented an access pit in the shape of an approx. 1 meter wide ditch set crosswise on the development of the digging (plan 3B), showing a spongy dark brown – reddish filling material with intrusions of black-ashy or brown soil. In 2001, the proper fire installation was revealed in proportion to 80%, the remaining 20% being incorporated in the longitudinal profile on the north-eastern and south-western direction. The respective profile was straightened in 2002 – we illustrated the second profile line by means of a pointed route (plan 2A, 3B) – and this led to the discovery of the part included here (plan 2A, 3B; picture 5).
After dismantling the ”stone structure” level by level (plan 3A a, b, c) in order to understand its construction type better, as well as after emptying the access pit, we found four completable vessels (sketch I, II; picture 8-11) and multiple ceramic fragments from the Iron and the Bronze Age (not illustrated), the latter being in secondary position since the setting up of the respective fire installation implied the “cutting” of a deepened complex containing ceramic fragments from the early Iron Age (plan 3B), of a level belonging to the Bronze Age and of the sterile soil layer from an archaeological view-point (plan 2B).
The interior of this oven showed the sizes of 0,80 x 0,80 meters and the fireplace was shaped like a slight bottom in the sterile soil, with an appreciatively circular shape with a diameter of 60 centimeter (picture 7) and filled up with ash (plan 3A c).
Next to the oven at approx. 1 m distance to the east we discovered a cavity of 1,50 x 0,90 meters with a depth between 0,10 – 0,25 meters compared to the level where it was found (plan 3B), whose filling material was made up of ash and very little ceramic and osteological fragments.
At a distance of about 2,20 meters from the C 1 oven towards the north-eastern end of the S IV surface, an agglomerate of three stones was found (plan 3B; picture 6) – which we called C 2 – (bearing a strong resemblance to the C 1 stones), next to them being placed a completable vessel (sketch III/5) and a jaw bone belonging to a herbivorous mammal of medium height, the present complex also “cutting” like the previous one the level belonging to the Bronze Age. Considering the presence of nine similar stones (plan 2A) in a distance of about 1,50 meters to this complex to the east, lying on a yellowish grainy soil (which used to be the filling levels of a medieval moat dated in the 18 th century based on the discovery of a coin issued in 1760) (Level with number 6 in plan 2B), we have strong evidence to believe that the layout and the usage of the respective moat affected the C 2 complex to a large extent.
No dwelling elements were found, which could have belonged to the respective fire installations, but there are such fire installations placed next to dwellings (Coman 1970, 164 in Moldova at Spinoasa-Iaşi, Suceava, Hlincea, Botoşana; Theodor 1996, 80), at the periphery of settlements (Theodor 1996, 80) or in areas especially designed for kilns (Theodor 1978, 106; a similar area of this type identified in Epureni-Vaslui).
Since we cannot appreciate the architecture of the C 2 complex (fragmentary), the C 1 oven offers us enough data to issue some opinions on the construction type of this fire installation.
The collapsing type of the “stone structure” (plan 3B; picture 4) and the clues after its dismantling (plan 3A) indicate that the respective fire installation used to be part of a kiln type made of wood in the shape of a horseshoe, with a vault made of stone as well and glued with clay, with a slightly hollowed fireplace, bearing good analogy features to the extra Carpathian space (Coman 1970, 164; Diaconu-Vîlceanu 1972, 6; Theodor 1996, 81), with an annexed access pit and a nearby cavity used as ash storage place.
Speaking of the utility of this fire installation, relying on its above mentioned features, we may state that this is not a heating device, since it does not belong to a dwelling. We also consider that the present oven could not serve as an ore reduction kiln, since it does not bear the characteristics of that certain installation type (Olteanu 1983, 90-91, 93) and no tubes or fragments of blowing clay tubes serving were found, as well as any iron slag traces were missing from the entire complex (annexes inclusive), as happened in the case of other ovens used in this purpose (Olteanu 1983, 90; Ţeicu-Lazarovici 1996, 102) and last but not least, the clay structure serving as glue to the stones of the oven and the soil in the fireplace area showed no trace of having been exposed to very high temperatures (over 1000º C) (Olteanu 1983, 93). This installation could have been used to burn ceramics, since the access pit was specific to ceramic kilns equipped with a grate, a fire room and a burning room (there is no such case), called „the potter pit”, where the vessels to be burned and part of the necessary fuel were deposited (Olteanu 1983, 84), but there are further arguments sustaining that handmade vessels used to be burned in simple ovens (Theodor 1996, 107). In case of the C 1 oven, its access pit was shaped like a narrow ditch, where the storage of a part of the necessary fuel and of the vessels to be burned would have turned this “stone structure” into an installation relatively difficult to use. The fact that the access pit layout might have served for the prevention of possible fires, which could have endangered the nearby settlement is a mere supposition at this time. Very good arguments supporting the idea regarding the usage of the present oven for cooking rely on the fact that two of the vessels (sketch I/2; sketch II/2) identified in the respective complex suffered a secondary burning, which slightly deformed them, and two of them show the above mentioned crust on the inside, which proves that at least those respective vessels were exposed to relatively high temperatures. It is interesting to observe that the two slightly deformed vessels were exposed to a secondary burning only on one side, which leads us to the theory that they were placed on the warmth source only with this side. This argument and the lack of any portable fireplace fragments, which could facilitate the total introduction of vessels inside of the oven, takes us to the assumption that food was boiled in the area towards the oven aperture, therefore the lateral heating of the vessels, idea which was considered before (Diaconu-Vîlceanu 1972, 68).
From the typological view-point, this kind of oven is an extremely frequent presence during the 6 th-11 th century (Theodor 1996, 81), never missing from any settlement in the 10 th-11 th century (Theodor 1978, 105). The ceramic material discovered within the C 1 and C 2 complexes consists of the fragments of five completable vessels (sketch I/1, 2; sketch II/1, 2; sketch III/5; picture 8-11), medium-sized (Ţeicu-Lazarovici 1996, 36; classification criteria of the vessels: their height, the short ones measuring 10-12 centimeters, the medium-sized ones up to 25 centimeters, and the high ones above 25 centimeters) (the shortest measures 14, 5 centimeters and the highest 20 centimeters). Four of these vessels are processed on a slow speed wheel, one showing spatula traces on the inner part (sketch I/2), slightly burned, belonging to the semi-fine category, sand and gravel used as degreasing substances (small mica fragments show up, but in our opinion these come from the storage place where the degreasing sand was extracted, since mica was not a material the respective potters used deliberately), dark colored, from grey to black pieces, grey and brown-grey, two of these vessels (sketch I/1; sketch II/2) presenting on the inner wall a thin crust (of about 0,5 millimeters), carbonized. The fifth vessel is being assigned to the fine category, with big grained sand as degreasing substance, processed on the fast speed wheel, of brown color with grey pieces.
From the point of view of their shape, all five vessels fit the jar-vessel (Horedt 1951, 211; XXX 1954, 220; Popa 1961, 227; Comşa 1963, 109; Aldea-Ciugudean 1981, 148) or pot-jar ( Anghel 1968, 473; Diaconu-Vîlceanu 1972, 71, 73; Theodor 1996, 59) types, with a few insignificant differences. Therefore, the mouth diameter of the vessel in sketch I/1, picture 8, is larger than that of the bottom, its body is kind of bulging out (the maximal development diameter of the vessel body is 2 centimeter larger than the mouth diameter), the shoulders are slightly flattened, the neck is relatively high and the rim strongly widened and rounded up with no potter mark on the bottom, the latter being slightly deepened thanks to the support it was placed on during the manufacture process.
The mouth diameter of the vessel in sketch I/2, picture 9, is also larger than that of the bottom, but this resides on the fact that the difference between these two values is not as big as in the case of the previous vessel, the shoulders are a little bit more preeminent, the neck shorter, the rounded rim not as wide, and the height is a half centimeter shorter, this vessel being less slender, but with a higher capacity.
The vessel bears no potter marks either, showing a slight hollow. In case of the vessel in sketch II/1, picture 10 we cannot speak of potter marks on the bottom, because the bottom is missing. The rim is strongly widened, the shoulders flattened, and the strongly bulging out globular body indicates a rather big difference between the diameter of the mouth and that of the bottom, even if the latter one is missing. This globular shape of the vessel body could be a result of the fast speed wheel usage and of a good quality paste used in the manufacture process. The last of the vessels discovered in oven C 1 (sketch II/2) shows a relatively slender shape, the mouth diameter being larger than that of the bottom, with a widened rim showing a straight cut, the neck is not very high, the shoulders are flattened and the body relatively bulged out (the maximal development diameter of the vessel body is 3 centimeters larger than the mouth diameter), presenting no potter mark on the bottom as well. The vessel discovered near the remains of oven C 2 is the slimmest of them all (the proportion between its height and its maximal development diameter of the body is the largest). The neck is short, the shoulders flat, the body slightly bulging out, the bottom slightly hollowed and the presence of a potter mark could not be confirmed or infirmed since the remains of the bottom of this vessel only consist in a small-sized fragment.
Considering the ornaments, we noticed the presence of simple winding lines (two by number and designed in large, carefully traced and deep waves), placed on the vessel shoulder, associated with fewer (sketch I/1) or more frequent (sketch II/2) horizontal lines, traced deep, which partly cover the body of the vessel. Then some deep horizontal lines appear, placed rarely on the vessel’s body, covering it entirely (sketch II/1). A strip of horizontal lines on the shoulder of the vessel can further be observed, delimited in the upper part by a simple winding line (sort of carelessly designed, in short waves), and in the lower part by a winding, larger strip, made up of two waving lines (sketch I/2). The ornament present on the vessel from C 2 consists of two strips of winding lines, made up of five waving lines, carefully executed, but not deep, completed in the lower part of the vessel with horizontal lines, some superficially traced.
Ceramic fragments assigned to the Early Middle Ages with very good analogies from the view-point of structure, shape and ornaments to the ceramics found in the two complexes, were discovered in Hunedoara - Castle’s Garden during the previous research years (sketch III/1-3), but had no primary stratigraphical position and were involved in the later intervention works conducted in this area.
Arguments supporting the dating theory of these structures reside in the ceramic vessels discovered within the respective complexes, all of them resembling the so-called jar vessels from the point of view of their shape, medium-sized and varied, the vessels in sketch I/1 and sketch II/2 bearing good analogies to Alba-Iulia (Popa 1961, sketch I/6; a minimal correction is due regarding this vessel: in the frame of the respective study it is presented on sketch I/3), the vessel in sketch I/2 resembling with materials from the Transylvanian space (Horedt 1951, sketch X//; XIV/5), like the case of the vessel in sketch III/5 (Horedt 1951, sketch XIV/9) and the shape in sketch II/1 (Horedt 1951, sketch X/6), only possible by processing it on the fast speed potter wheel. Speaking of the rim profile, the rims are rounded up (sketch I/1, 2; sketch II/1), with on exception (sketch II/2), this one showing a straight cut. Analogies to the rim profiles presented in sketch I/1,2 and sketch II/1 can be found in Alba Iulia (Anghel 1968, fig. 4/7, 8), Hunedoara-Grădina Castelului (Sketch III/2, 3 of the present study; material located in the warehouse of the Corvineşti Castle Museum in Hunedoara, nr. inv. A 3997, A 4462), and for the one in sketch II/2 there are similar structures in Alba Iulia (Anghel 1968, fig. 4/4) and Hunedoara-Dealul Sânpetru (Sketch III/4 of the present study; material located in the warehouse of the Corvineşti Castle Museum in Hunedoara, nr. inv. A 4638).
The vessels in sketch I/1, sketch II/2 bear strong resembling features considering the ornaments (made up of winding lines places on the shoulder combined with horizontal lines which cover the lower part of the vessels) with materials from Alba Iulia (Popa 1961, sketch I/6; Anghel 1968, fig. 6/6, 9), Lechinţa de Mureş (xxx 1952, fig. 8/10), Moreşti (xxx 1954, fig. 10/6) and Hunedoara-Grădina Castelului (Sketch III/2 of the present study), and the ornament (made up of horizontal, relatively rare, incised lines, which cover the entire vessel body) present on the vessel in sketch II/1 also appears at Blandiana (Horedt 1966, abb. 11/9) and Moldoveneşti (xxx 1952, fig. 4/7), and the winding strip on the vessel in sketch III/5 bears good analogy features from this point of view with the ceramics from Alba Iulia (Anghel 1968, fig. 8/11, 13).
Speaking of chronological issues regarding the materials from Hunedoara- Grădina Castelului (sketch III/1-3) resulted after years of thorough research works, the materials offer much clearer dating elements with the appearance of sockets around the vessel’s neck, associated with horizontal lines (sketch III/1) or slanting cuts (sketch III/3), these elements being looked upon as particularly specific to the ceramics from the 11 th century, with no antecedents in the previous centuries (Anghel 1968, 209). Speaking of the structure and the accomplishment manner of the incised ornaments, these ceramic fragments bear analogy features up to identical elements with the ceramics discovered within the two complexes presented here, which argues one more the chronology of the respective structures.
The ceramic fragment from Hunedoara-Dealul Sânpetru has analogies with the materials from Alba-Iulia (Anghel 1968, fig. 4/4) speaking of the rim shape, and also of the ornament (Anghel 1968, fig. 6/8), made up of a strip of waving lines, considered typical to the centuries following the 7 th century (Horedt 1951, 209). The ceramic fragment comes from a surface discovery, unfortunately the respective archeological site was not systematically researched so far and we have no complete information on its dating.
All these analogies with materials assigned to the period between the 10 th-11 th century in case of those from Alba Iulia (Anghel 1968, 480), 10 th-12 th century from Moreşti (xxx 1954, 220), 11 th century for Lechinţa de Mureş (xxx 1952, 327) and Moldoveneşti (xxx 1952, 318) as well as the considerations related to the ornament features of the Early Middle Ages (Horedt 1951, 208-211), allow us to set the chronology of the two complexes in the second half of the 10 th century – the first half of the 11 th century.
Nevertheless strongly considering the insufficient current state of research works, the domestic functionality of oven C 1 gives way to the assumption referring to the presence of a settlement belonging to the above mentioned period of time situated close to this complex, a settlement whose location was suggested by other authors as well (Lupescu 2003, 8).
English translation by Irina Ivanovici