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Email: alexis_project@yahoo.com

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Old Bîlta

Click on the photos to see an enlarged version



 Bîlta  Bîlta  Bîlta

Alina Neagoe, president of the Alexis Project, as well as Adrian and Alina Bologa, a young doctor friend of the Alexis Project were in the Bîlta area, in the valley of the fossils, to search for a stone age site there.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 21st March 2010




 Bîlta  Bîlta  Bîlta

Even though this area has most of the requirements for an ancient site, such as the small river in the valley of the fossils running between the hills, there are small fields on those hills, there is a good place for an ancient village, and there are a lot of forests close by for building and fuel, there is no ancient stone age village.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 21st March 2010




 Bîlta  Bîlta  Bîlta
Perhaps the ground is not good enough for intensive agriculture, it has a lot of stones and not very fertile soil. So, we believe that this was our last search in the area.

Even though a wooden dam was found here near the main fossiliferous site, as well as a few artefacts, given to the Oltenia Museum, the ancient Bîlta village was relatively new, perhaps from the 17th Century, perhaps beneath the village of today.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 21st March 2010









Old Bilta
Alina found this bone in the small river below the fossiliferous main site of the Bîlta hills. The bone appears to be very old, and there is no village or any houses near there.

The bone has been identified by the specialist Aurelian Popescu from the Oltenia Museum as being possibly from an ancient proboscidian (a mammoth or mastodon or elephant) which means that this is a great discovery for the Alexis Team.

The General Manager of the Oltenia Museum, Mihai Fifor as agreed that the institution will help with the search of the Bîlta site, which is very encouraging news.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 16th February 2008




 Bilta GPS readings



GPS readings for the site.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 19th February 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta
A few huge wooden pieces were found in the middle of the small river near the fossiliferous site of Bîlta, far away from the village in an empty area, on the hills, too big for a simple piece of wood from a fallen tree. It is man made as the pieces from the Matca River are. The question then becomes, are these the remains of an ancient dam, as Matca is?

Dr Gheorghe strongly believes that this is the site of the old/ancient Middle Age Bîlta village. There are many stories in the villages, told by the elders, about a forgotten village in the hills, but no evidence has yet been found to prove these stories correct, even though Dr Gheorghe and the Alexis team have searched every valley around the village of today, except for a few stone tools and other artefacts used in ancient times.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 16th February 2008




Old Bilta
As can be seen from this photo, the main wooden pieces are in the small river, not so far from one another, and they seem to be part of an ancient dam.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 16th February 2008




Old Bilta
Many other wooden pieces brought down by the river may be found for a distance of about 200 metres from the site of the main large pieces of wood. All seem to be part of a huge ancient construction, just as Matca was. The effects of winter help to break down the earth of the hill, exposing many artefacts to the elements.

Dr Gheorghe and the Alexis team are at the beginning of the search, but they have a dream to prove that there was an ancient Bîlta village at this spot, and after one or two years of search in the area, to find out more about it. It is difficult at this time of the year because the ground is often covered in ice and snow, and it is still very cold and windy, which makes such searches difficult.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 16th February 2008




Old Bilta
These are samples of some wooden pieces saved from the river in the place where there may be the site of the ancient Bîlta village.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 17th February 2008




Old Bilta
This ceramic loom weight, or Lest, used for keeping the warp threads straight and taut, was found on the small river near the main fossiliferous site, about 100 metres downstream of the ancient wooden dam.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 21st February 2008




Old Bilta
An ancient Fusaiola, or spindle weight, found on the hill of Cioca, about one kilometre west of the main fossiliferoous site of Bîlta.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 21st February 2008




Old Bilta
An ancient sieve or Strecuratoare found on the right bank of the Jiu River at a place where many small rivers from the hills around Bîlta, including the main fossiliferous site about two kilometres to the south, coalesce before joining the Jiu.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 21st February 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta
Pieces of pottery found on the right bank of the Jiu River in the vicinity of the present day Bîlta village, about two kilometres north from the main fossiliferous site of Bîlta.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 21st February 2008




Old Bilta
A huge piece of wood right in the middle of a small river, shown just in front of Dr Gheorghe. The baulk of wood was over 1000 mm long x 700 x 50 mm. It seems to be a kind of support for the dam, but most of it is still covered by clay in this shot, and it will take a lot of time to recover it. Behind Dr Gheorghe can be seen another huge piece of wood, which seems to be another part of the dam, a plank used as a walkway around the dam, over 1000 mm long, more than 400 mm deep and 50 mm wide. It makes an angle of 90° with the first piece of wood, and is still covered by clay and water.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 23rd February 2008




Old Bilta
An example of how hard it is to work in wet clay and very cold water to dig in order to save the ancient dam. The work needs many people next time the effort is made, because this ancient wood installation may be as large as Matca was, and requiring the same sort of huge effort to recover.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 23rd February 2008




Old Bilta
In one of the recovered pieces of wood from the ancient dam is a rebate to fix in place another piece of wood, both being squared off with an adze.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 23rd February 2008




Old Bilta
This is the great discovery from this day's work. In this photograph may be seen part of a wooden tube which collected water from a spring in ancient times. From here water was directed by another piece of wood called in Romanian Scafa which is very carefully fixed into the vertical dam wall with two pieces of wood, shims or chocks, called in Romanian Pana / Pene. In the image, you can not see the other huge plank, a piece of wood used as a walkway, because it is covered with clay from the digs.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 23rd February 2008




Old Bilta




This is a very important map of the area drawn by Dr Gheorghe detailing the finds so far. It is a preliminary map of the ancient wooden dam, a wooden tube joined by a scafa to a vertical wooden dam with a large walkway around it.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 23rd February 2008




Old Bilta

Mr Robert Georgescu and his son, new friends of the Alexis Project, are shown here at Bîlta Lapidarium to see the ancient artifacts.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th February 2008




Old Bilta

This is the valley of the main fossiliferous site of Bîlta in very early spring, looking to the south, along the small river with the ancient wooden dam and the fossil mammoth bone.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th February 2008




Old Bilta

The main fossiliferous site at Bîlta, with its face to the south east. A large part of the hill is eroded by rain, snow and wind every year.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th February 2008




Old Bilta

Mr Robert Georgescu and his son are searching through a canyon to the west, higher than the main fossiliferous site, looking for fossils.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th February 2008




Old Bilta

As always, it was Alina who found in a small hole in an eroded hill something which seemed to be the head of an unknown animal.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th February 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta

Adrian and Robert are shown here working in the hole to recover this animal from the frozen clay, from a very small place in very hard, frozen ground.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th February 2008




Old Bilta

This is the moment when, after much work in the hole in the hill, a very tired Adrian was able to lift out the unknown animal's head.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th February 2008




Old Bilta

It seems to be a horse's head, not so old, and the only bone in the hole. It may be that the ancient bone fossil of a mammoth found a week before this one was a single fossil, and the rest is still underground in the valley, as no more bones were found in the area at this time. The horse head will be donated to the Oltenia Museum if they wish to keep it.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th February 2008




Old Bilta

It was a very long way back home, with of course a horse on Adrian's back!

Not many men are so strong as this, he is a rival for Hercules!

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th February 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta


Old Bilta Old Bilta
Another horse head found 200 to 300 metres from the first horse head.

Both are not very old, and in good condition. The anomaly is that there were no other horse bones near the skulls.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 9th March 2008




Apotropaica is an adjective that is attributed to an object or person to prevent, remove or cancel malignant influences. The specialist Cornel Balosu said that :

"the skull of the horse has a function when it is put at an intersection in the space between the house area (as in the human space for life) and the other side of the world (the devil's one). This head has a function of Apotropaica, which gives protection for man and his life-space against devils from the other world."
Another opinion is that in this valley there are still ancient tombs, protected by horse skulls, another opinion is that they may be there as the result of wizards trying to protect someone.

A resident of the area says that there are many horses in these hills, and that the rest of the bones were taken by wild animals.

In ancient times a horse's head was put on a wooden stake just in front of the gate of his property to protect it against devils, called here Iele or Lele.

In Romanian mythology, the Iele are feminine mythical creatures. Most of the times they are described as virgin fairies (zane in Romanian), with great seduction power over men, with magic skills, attributes similar to the Ancient Greek Nymphs, Naiads, Dryads, etc. The Iele live in the sky, in the forests, in caves, on isolated mountain cliffs, in marshes, often bathing in the springs, or at crossroads. (This paragraph is adapted from Wikipedia).

There appears also to be a connection between the horse's skull and an ancient dance/tradition here, called Calusul, connected with the sun.

Text below adapted from: http://www.eliznik.org.uk/RomaniaDance/ritual_calus.htm

The Căluş of southern Romania, also found with the northern Vlachs of Bulgaria and Serbia, consists of a suite of separate dances, each with its own name, melody and ritual purpose which were danced at Rusalii. The features characteristic to Romanian type group ritual dances are:
  • starting figure of walking (plimbari), or a basic step, in a circle moving anticlockwise
  • more complex figures (mişcare) performed in place between walking steps
  • figures are formed from combinations of elements, often a beginning-middle-end structure


The figures (mişcare) are combinations of stamps, heel clicks, springs and leg rotations.

Particularly in the Muntenian variants, these are structured with a beginning element, middle element and an ending element, with the middle element most often changing to create different figures. The staged versions have combined these dances, concentrating on the impressive mişcare steps. The oldest documentation is musical notations from Ioan Caianu (Latin: Johannes Caioni Hungarian: Kájoni János; a Transylvanian Franciscan monk and Roman Catholic priest, musician, folklorist of Vlach ancestry) in the 17th century.

The translation of Căluş is most often "pony or little horse", which would be Căluţ or Căluşel in Romanian. Căluşar or Căluşari refers to the dancers of Căluş. An alternative derivation of Căluş refers to a type of stick used to keep the horse's mouth open.

There are three existing variants of the Romanian Căluş:

Muntenia:

The dance has a higher stage of evolution and is a major source of the figures used in dance ensemble choreographies. The Muntenian tradition includes the mute character who does not speak, wears a hideous mask and uses obscene actions. In some places ritual plays are also performed during which the the mute character is killed and brought back to life. There are several distinct dances grouped round a Căluş dance followed by Sârba and Hora.

The dance suite from Pădureţi, in Argeş is: Plimbarea, Băţul (the stick), Calu (the horse), Crăiţa (the Marigold), Chiserul, Florica, Hora Căluşului and dances with imitative features: Raţa (the duck), Cătrăniţa, Ungurescul, and Băţul.

Oltenia and northern Bulgaria:

The dance aspect is less developed and maintains a closer association with ritual. This has resulted in the tradition dying out as the ritual becomes obsolete the dance does not continue as a performance spectacle. The mute character is not in found in Oltenia.

South west Oltenia, Banat and Serbia: In this variant the group also has two or more female characters, the Craite (queens) played by young girls. The Banat tradition has now disappeared. This has links with the Serbian girls’ custom Kralice or Kralicari.

A de-ritualised version known as Căluşul de Iarna (Winter Căluş) is part of new years rituals found in Mehedinti and Braila. Both use asymmetric rhythm as opposed to the standard Căluş dances. In the village of Gropeni, Braila, the tradition was discovered in 1972. Lads between aged 11 to 19 perform it formed into groups according to age, but in the past only boys over 17 took part. The dancer’s faces are covered with piece of cloth, similar to the historic description by Dimitrie Cantamir.

The celebration starts on the first day of Christmas and in the past continued to New Years Day morning. The dance has a single motif and the 7/16 dance melody is of same type as the 'goat dance' of winter festivities. In the village of Hunia, Dolj, (near Mehedinti) this tradition was discovered in 1958. On the 5th-6th January young bachelors perform the complete Whitsum căluş, with the dance suite: Calul, Crăiţele, Ropota, Floricica, Hăp sus, Hora de mâna.


Old Bilta

A general view of the ancient wooden dam at this moment, the beginning of the search. It seems at the moment to be very similar to the dam at Matca River, and to be from a period of time perhaps 300 years ago. The ancient dam is in an empty area, it is made from huge wooden pieces, and has been very carefully hand made. Dr Gheorghe strongly believes that the ancient village of Bîlta is near it, just as Old Racari was.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 26th February 2008




Old Bilta

This is one of the finest artefacts found by the Alexis team during the whole time of its existence. This piece of ancient wood, very carefully worked, with two small wedges carefully made to fix it securely into the main wooden dam, is called a Scafa, a chute or channel in English.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 26th February 2008




Dr Gheorghe writes, 1st March 2008:
"Today was a great day for the Alexis Project team. Together with Madalina, one of the nurses from my medical unit at Filiaşi, I was at the main fossiliferous site at Bîlta again to recover the ancient wooden dam.

There were eight men there to work on the recovery of the dam, and since they were paid 50 RON for the day, the cost was more than €100, but they were very good workers, and much was attained.

Altogether there were eight men and two others from the Alexis team, and the work was finished in two hours, in difficult conditions of cold water, a restricted space to work, a cold wind, and too much cold, wet clay!

In other important news, it is now believed that there are two more wooden dams not so far from here, so I wish to discover them and try to save them for the Oltenia Museum. I have a project to make a huge reconstruction of these wooden dams in the grounds of the Oltenia Museum, to be seen by all visitors as an example of the ingenuity of the Romanian people.

The workers at the site told me about an ancient village just near this wooden dam, which confirms my theory that I have found the ancient Middle Ages village of Bîlta, just as I have found the ancient Middle Ages village of Racari."

Old Bilta

Part of the team starts work on the site of the ancient wooden dam. It is a cold and windy day, the water is very cold, and we do not have much space to move, but the show must go on!

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 1st March 2008




Old Bilta

After two hours of very hard work the entire site is recovered from the clay. As can be seen, it is a smaller wooden dam than Racari/Matca was, with a single wooden tube, (not two as Matca has), but only a few small differences between them.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 1st March 2008




Old Bilta

A general view of the wooden dam in situ, before its removal. It is important to measure and record the distances between the components of the dam, and their relationships to one another.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 1st March 2008




Old Bilta

Piece by piece the dam was removed from the site, but it was very hard to remove the wooden tube. It was very deep underground, over 1000 mm, and made from four sections. The Matca tubes were made from three and five pieces respectively.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 1st March 2008




Old Bilta

Initial reconstruction of the ancient wooden dam.

It consists of a wooden tube, more than 900 mm long, and with a diameter of over 600 mm, with a hole in the back of it to bring water from an underground spring. An important find was that this entry hole was covered with ancient branches as a filter to prevent clay going into the tube.

There were also many stones surrounding the dam, to protect it.

Just in front of the wooden tube was a vertical wooden plank, 1700 x 400 x 60 mm, to keep back the water and to provide still conditions in the water behind the plank, so that the tube and associated construction was not washed away under conditions of strong water flow.

There was a connection between the wooden tube and the dam, a chute or Scafa, as already detailed and photographed earlier in this account.

On the right side of the dam was a walkway or platform, called in Romanian a Podina, which had dimensions of 1600 x 650 x 40 mm, with an ancient hand rail or balustrade, Balustrada, on the right side of it. In addition, there were many wooden stakes and supports at the site, for fixing the dam in place. No pottery has yet been found.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 1st March 2008




Dr Gheorghe writes, 2nd March 2008:
"Today was a very long day, because Alina and I searched the entire Bîlta area for other ancient wooden dams. We started searching from the hill on the southern side of the village, at the exit from the village to the "Wonder Spring" and went over the hills near the main fossiliferous site, along the valley with the small river which passes through that site, crossed a pine forest to another hill between the valley of the fossils and the Acacia forest valley, and down the Acacia Forest valley along another small river near there.

We then went back down to the village, then finished our search along the valley of the springs where the small streams from the main fossiliferous site meets the small stream from the "Wonder Spring". This was a very long distance over three hills and two valleys.

It was a windy day and we made a lot of discoveries: Four wooden ancient dams, two modern wooden dams, and a lot of concrete dams.

Old Bilta

A simple wooden dam in the Acacia Forest Valley, made from a few wooden sticks around a small hole in a water spring area, made only to provide drinking water for travellers through the forest.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd March 2008




Old Bilta

An ancient wooden dam, the remnant only remaining, in the valley of the springs, at the exit from Bîlta village to the south and the "Wonder Spring", about 200 metres north of the the main fossiliferous site of Bîlta.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd March 2008




Old Bilta

Another ancient dam in the same area as the one above, but it is a simple wooden dam, covered with grass, and with a few wooden pieces around it, #11 in the list below.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd March 2008




Old Bilta

An ancient wooden dam, covered by water, in the same area, the Valley of the Springs, #13 in the list below.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd March 2008




Old Bilta

These objects were found at the ancient wooden dam downstream from the main fossiliferous site of Bîlta, inside the wooden tube behind the dam wall. They were found together with leaves and clay and stones, perhaps fallen into the wooden tube during the period it was in daily use, perhaps two or three hundred years ago.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd March 2008




Horsetail

After examination by an important specialist from Oltenia Museum, the objects above turn out to be the black edible nodules on the roots of horsetails, Equisetum sp., which were collected and used for food, though some effort was required to harvest them. In Romanian, the plant is called Coada Calului.

Equisetum is a "living fossil", as it is the only living genus of the entire class Equisetopsida, which for over one hundred million years was much more diverse and dominated the understory of late Paleozoic forests. Some Equisetopsida were large trees reaching to 30 meters tall; the genus Calamites of family Calamitaceae for example is abundant in coal deposits from the Carboniferous period.

Photo: Carl Axel Magnus Lindman (1856–1928)
Permission: Public Domain
Text: Wikipedia




Dr Gheorghe writes:

I believe that the first ancient dams were simple holes dug in the clay near an underground source of water. Water filled the hole, sand and rocks fall to the bottom, and the clay eventually settles out on the bottom of the hole, leaving clear good water for drinking.

The next step was to build a wall of wooden sticks in the hole or well, to stop the wall of the hole from caving in, and to stop the hole from becoming full of clay and sand coming from the water source or spring.

After this, about the 17th Century, complex dams were built such as the dams shown here and at Matca.

With regard to soils, the surface level, called Cernosiom, or in english Cernozem, is between 250 mm and 800 mm deep. Under this is usually another one, composed of clay and small stones, the result of the deposits by an ancient sea, possibly the Sarmatica Sea. This clay level is often 250 mm to 10 000 mm thick.

Under this level can be found another level, called Marna or marl, a mixture of clay and limestone, which is quite hard.

The underground water forms when rain falls, passes through the Cernosiom, is filtered by the second, clay level, and finally runs on the interface between this clay level and the one below it, the Marna. Marna is impermeable to water.

Thus the ancient maker of the dams chose a position close to an existing spring. He dug a very large hole, through the Cernosiom, then through the clay level, to the Marna level, or just below.

Here he placed a wooden tube, made of three to five sections for ease of making and final placement, and secured the tube with stones around it right to the surface of the ground.

The underground water trickles down at the junction between the second and third layers, goes inside the tube through the holes (covered with branches put outside the tube) made in it, gravel, sand and clay settles to the bottom, and clean water rises to the top. I have still not found a wooden lid over the tube which I believe would have been there to prevent litter falling into the tube.

At site 01 on the map there were a lot of leaves, seeds and stones in the tube. Later dams incorporate a roof or lid.

Once the tube is full of water, it overflows through a chute or Scafa which is supported by both the tube and the wooden wall of the dam, which has a notch or cut in it to accept the Scafa.

Around the tube, and/or in front of the dam wall, was placed a Podina, a wooden platform, on which the user of the water source could stand or which could be used as a platform for washing clothes or pottery.

Such a place would be ideal for a Topila or rettery, a place for breaking down vegetable fibres such as flax or in to be used for making ropes or other textiles.

There appear to be three kinds of wooden dams:
  1. A simple one, a hole or a dam of sticks such as Number 04 on the map is, made to provide drinking water for people passing through the area, or for agricultural workers or their animals.
  2. A dam for use by ancient villages, very carefully made, such as Number 01 and the dam at the Matca River.
  3. Later dams made of wood or concrete, but not so skilfully made as many of the earlier ones were, numbers 08 to 13 on the map.

Bilta map




Map of the Bîlta area.



Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd March 2008




The land runs in a series of parallel ridges and valleys towards the south west, the top of the map.

The Jiu River is at the bottom of the map, with the red area of Bîlta village. Behind Bîlta is the first ridge of hills, then the Acacia River, then another ridge of hills and after this is the fossiliferous valley. Behind this again is another range of hills.

Each of these valleys has a small stream which flows into the Balta River, which then flows past Bîlta village and the Medical Unit. The Balta River enters the Jiu River between the old wooden footbridge and the new concrete bridge across the Jiu.

The most important water springs in the Bîlta area are: There are other smaller sources of water in the area, the total number must be in excess of 100.

Old Bilta

Bîlta Map.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 10th March 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta

Dams from the 19th and 20th Century with a roof, #9 and #10 from the list above. As can be seen, it is a tradition in the area to make a source of water at a cross roads, or anywhere it is difficult to find water for travellers, in the middle of a forest or a long way outside the village, in memoriam of some person in the family who has died, with a wooden cross nearby.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd March 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta

From the GPS map, these are springs 01 and 02.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 9th March 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta Old Bilta

From the GPS map, these are springs 03, 04 and 05. Eight springs were found in the area of the springs valley, not six as earlier thought.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 9th March 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta
This shows a team from Oltenia Museum at Spring 5 who went to Bîlta village to make an evaluation of the finds of the Alexis Project for donation to the museum.

The horse heads found in the valley of fossils in the Bîlta village can have an apotropaic function, that is, to act as protection from devils.

It was a big surprise when the expert Dr Cornel Balosu pointed out the use of horses heads on the spring, again with an apotropaic function, to protect the spring from devils. This is a very rare case of this symbol on a spring, but there are many places in Oltenia where one may see a horse's head used in this way on other structures.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 1st April 2008




Old Bilta

Here is another spring sporting horse heads in an apotropaic function, in the same valley of the springs, only a few metres from the spring above. The horse heads have either been broken, or perhaps were always like this, just indications of their purpose. It may also be that all these horse heads were originally painted to make them more realistic, and more effective in their function.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 12th April 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta Old Bilta

These are springs 06, 07 and 08 on the Bîlta GPS map.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 9th March 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta Old Bilta

These are springs 09, 10 and 11 on the Bilta GPS map.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 9th March 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta Old Bilta Old Bilta

These are springs 12, 13, 17, 19 on the Bîlta GPS map.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 9th March 2008




Old Bilta

These image is of #21 on the GPS map.

This is an important spring, in the middle of the village, made in the 19th Century by a very important land owner of Filiaşi, known as Filishano or Filisanu. He was responsible for many important buildings and improvements in the area.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 9th March 2008




Old Bilta

This image is of #22 on the GPS map.

Behind the main spring in the foreground, there is an old spring about fifteen metres from the first, just under the edge of the hill, like a small piece of concrete, over the wooden fence between the street and the private land.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 9th March 2008




Old Bilta Old Bilta
The first image demonstrates the difficulty of the search in wild forest and deep valleys in the upper part of the fossil valley.

The next image is of the Curpen or Carpen tree, known in English as Hornbeam, with the scientific name Carpinus betulus. It is a small to medium sized tree, typically 10-20 m tall but occasionally reaching 30 m. Dr Gheorghe believes that you could make rope from the tree also, if you selected green wood, not seasoned wood, for ancient tools.

The wood of hornbeams is very hard, lending it to use for carving boards, tool handles, coach wheels and other situations where a very tough, hard wood is required. It is sometimes coppiced to provide hardwood poles. (text adapted from Wikipedia)

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 9th March 2008




Old Bilta

This image shows how one can find large eroded hills worn down by rain, snow and the lack of trees to fix the clay into the hill structure.

The Forestry Officer from Bîlta said that since the Acacia forest was more than 35 years old, it must be cut down for regeneration, and in five years from now young trees will replace the ones cut down.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 9th March 2008










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