Recent additions, changes and updates to the Alexis site

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Contact Dr Gheorghe, the coordinator, at alexis_project@yahoo.com for further information about the Alexis Project:

Email: alexis_project@yahoo.com

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Olt River Valley

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Olt River


The Olt River, late October 2007. It is unusual to still see swans on the river at this time of the year, perhaps presaging a warm winter, or perhaps another sign of climate change.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 28th October 2007


Arutela Castrum

When travelling north, after leaving the Cozia monastery, driving on the right bank of the Olt River, one can find a Roman fortress or castrum called Arutela, which has been very well reconstructed.

The castrum has an area of about 50 x 50 metres, with its main gate looking towards the east. It was built in 137 - 138 AD, and was mentioned until 220 - 223 AD. The fortress was built on the Traian way, the road to the north, to Sarmisegetuza, the main city of the ancient country of Dacia.

In 1955 Castrul Arutela was declared an exceptional historic national monument.

Arutela
Alexandru si Alina folosesc aici 2 aparate GPS (LG si NOKIA) pentru a face o harta buna a fortaretei Arutela.

Alexandru and Alina are using here two GPS devices (LG and NOKIA) to make a good map of the Arutela site.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 15th June 2008




Arutela
In fata portilor fortaretei Arutela Alina si Alexandru fac si masuratori pentru a avea o imagine mai buna asupra dimensiunilor castrului.

In front of the gates of Arutela fortress Alina and Alexandru also make measurements to have a better picture of the dimensions of the castrum

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 15th June 2008




Arutela
Dupa ce echipa Alexis Project a facut mai multe puncte GPS in jurul fortaretei Arutela, am facut cateva masuratori GPS si inauntrul acesteia. Se pare ca avem niste probleme tehnice aici din cauza curentului electro-magnetic foarte puternic venind din hidrocentrala de pe raul Olt aflata in imediata apropiere de Arutela, dar si din cauza vremii innorate si a muntilor inalti din jurul nostru.

After the Alexis Project Team had plotted a lot of GPS points around the Arutela fortress, we also plotted a few GPS points inside it. It seems that we had some technical problems here because of a very strong electro-magnetical field coming from the hydro-electrical power plant on the Olt river near Arutela, also because of the cloudy weather and the high mountains around us.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 15th June 2008




Arutela
In interiorul fortaretei Arutela, Alexandru vine dinspre poarta principala (PORTA PRAETORIA) pe drumul principal al castrului, VIA PRINCIPALIS.

Inside the Arutela fortress, Alexandru is coming from the main gate, the Porta Praetoria along the main road of the fortress, Via Principalis.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 15th June 2008




Arutela
In final, dupa cartarea GPS a fortaretei Arutela, Alexandru se afla la intrarea in defileul Oltului, spre nord. Mai tarziu acasa, avem multe probleme sa desenam harta Arutelui (probabil din cauza unor probleme nerezolvate prezentate mai sus), asa ca va trebui san e intoarcem aici sa mai facem o incercare.

Finally, after mapping a lot of GPS points from the Arutela fortress, Alexandru is seen here at the entrance to the Olt river canyon, to the north. Later, at home, we had a lot of problems in drawing the GPS map of Arutela (perhaps because of the unfixed problems above) so we must return here to make another attempt.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 15th June 2008




Arutela


A general view of Arutela fortress or castrum, looking from north to south, from a bridge over the Olt river

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Arutela


Another view from the same vantage point.

Altitude 299 m, 45.27805°N, 24.31111°E

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 22nd April 2008




Arutela


A front view of Arutela, with the Porta Praetoria to the east.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Arutela


Via Cumana, looking from the north, Porta Sinistra, to the south, Porta Dextra.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Arutela


Via Principalis, the main street, looking from west to east, inside the castrum.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Arutela


A view of the main gates of the castrum, looking behind them, from west to east, inside the castrum. You can see Alina, one of the Alexis Project team at the window of one of the main towers of the castrum

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007





Ramnicu Valcea

Ramnicu Valcea Ramnicu Valcea


Monuments in the main park of Ramnicu Valcea, the main town of the Olt valley and of Valcea county, in the eastern part of the Oltenia area.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 22nd April 2008




Ramnicu Valcea


A small tortoise in a pond in the main park of Ramnicu Valcea, probably the European pond terrapin (also called the European pond turtle or European pond tortoise).

From Wikipedia:

Emys orbicularis is a turtle found in southern and central Europe, West Asia and North Africa. It lives in and around slow-flowing water and hibernates for up to seven months of the year at the bottom of the water. Its shell is brown with a hint of green, spotted yellow.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 22nd April 2008





Slaveni Castrum

To the east of Caracal, in the eastern part of Oltenia County, just on the right bank of the Olt River, in a village called Slaveni is the biggest Roman fortress in the entire southern Dacia, made with stone walls, not clay.

Slaveni Castrum







General plan of Slaveni and the surrounding area.

Photo: Slaveni si imprejurimi, Nicolae Gudea (2005)




Slaveni Castrum





Plan of the Slaveni Castrum.

Photo: Slaveni castrum and thermes, Gheorghe Popilian in the revue Apullum (1971)




Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum

Google Earth image of the Slaveni Castrum area.

Photo: Google Earth




Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum


Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum


Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum

Although the authorities from Slaveni village do not care about the site, with no sign to indicate its importance, and with a huge sport complex built on top of it, and with a huge fence built for footballers, the site is still an important national monument.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd May 2010


Two artefacts stand out amongst the many that can be found here: a stone axe from the bronze age, with surfaces that have been ground, not flaked, and a piece of pottery from the Daco-Roman period, hand made.




Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum

Today, exp.arch. dr.Dorel Bondoc, dr.Alina Bologa and Adrian were at the huge Roman castrum at Slaveni village, on the Olt River bank, Oltenia County, to make a new search in the area and to make a GPS points map in the entire area for a future book about it.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd May 2010




Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum

We went onto the site, which measures over 1.5 x 0.5 km in surface area, to search, to make important GPS points for a new and complete map about the castrum and Roman village here.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd May 2010




Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum

The team members were searching for important points to put them on a GPS map, under the advice and expertise of Dorel Bondoc.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd May 2010




Slaveni Castrum







GPS points for the Slaveni Area.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd May 2010




Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum

It was a huge area on which to make a search and record GPS readings, but it was very worthwhile.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd May 2010







Slaveni Castrum

Today, the Slaveni Castrum site presents itself as just a field, with the digs now covered by clay and grass. In this photograph, Alina Neagoe and Dorel Bondoc walk the area in a preliminary inspection.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 28th October 2007




Slaveni Castrum

Dr Dorel Bondoc and a man from Slaveni village search for artefacts on the field of the castrum.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 28th October 2007




Slaveni Castrum Slaveni Castrum

In these photographs Alina searches for artefacts.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 28th October 2007




Slaveni Castrum

A piece of stone bearing the imprint of the use of a metal tool. Perhaps the stone was meant for ornamental use.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 28th October 2007




Slaveni Castrum

A piece of a brick on which can be seen a stamped letter, possibly an "N". This is an important artefact, for it shows that a military unit made bricks there stamped with its name.

The reddish marks are where a pick has gouged the surface while digging the brick up.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 28th October 2007




Slaveni CastrumRoman Sandal

A brick bearing the imprint of a Roman sandal. There is an entire collection from the Malva castrum with fingerprints and marks of men and animals.

Here the metal hobnails of the Roman sandal have been preserved in the burnt clay for almost two thousand years.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 28th October 2007




Roman SandalRoman Sandal
These drawings give in great detail the construction of the Roman Sandal, and show in particular the hob nails on the sole which extend the grip and the length of usage of the sandal.

Photo: "Roman Military Equipment" second edition, by M.C. Bishop and J.C.N. Coulston, published by Oxbow Books, 2006, pages 7 and 112.




Slaveni Castrum

Unfortunately it has been reported that some authorities have had a 500 metre long, 40 cm by 40 cm ditch dug right across the site, through the walls of the castrum and through the middle of the Porta Praetoria - in order to plant trees! This is quite illegal, the site is a Historical Monument, protected by law from such destruction.

Here the archaeological expert Dr Dorel Bondoc makes a search of this outlaw dig, along the east part of the castrum.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 28th October 2007




Slaveni Castrum

Dr Bondoc asked people from the local area about the reason for the digs here. It is to be hoped legal action will be taken against those responsible.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 28th October 2007




Slaveni
On a cold and windy day, Dorel Bondoc and Alina visit the huge Roman castrum of Slaveni, where Dr Bondoc is supervising the excavation.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 14th November 2007




Slaveni
Here Dorel Bondoc shows Alina the plan of the Roman castrum, and talks with her about his project for digs there in the southern part of the castrum, just outside the wall.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 14th November 2007




Slaveni
Alina shows a piece of pottery pipe for water, which she found about 200 metres north of the castrum.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 14th November 2007




Slaveni
This is a close up of the pottery pipe above.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 14th November 2007




Slaveni
Pottery found by the Alexis team at the site.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 14th November 2007




Slaveni
The photograph shows the workers working on a trench at Slaveni, looking from the south-west to the north-east, with a depth of 25 metres and a depth of more than 2.5 metres. It is interesting to note that in general, a castrum has been built with the main gate, the Porta Praetoria and it's wall to the east, as Malva and Arutela are, but there are a lot of them put in the other way, as this is.

In general, the Porta Praetoria is put to face the enemy, so perhaps this explains the mystery in this case.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th November 2007




Slaveni
As usual, when the digs are almost complete, Dorel Bondoc makes a report, with his secretary writing it while he makes measurements and observations for the report, including all his discoveries here.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th November 2007




Slaveni
Another general view, looking from the north-east to the south-west.

Starting at the south west, there is the stone wall of the castrum, then three defense ditches, one after the other, like waves of clay, the last perhaps full of water during the time that the Romans lived here.

So when the enemy arrived at the castrum, they must first pass the defense of a small river, then climb another clay wall like a solid wave, then pass through the ditch on the other side, then climb another clay wall like a solid clay wave, then down and up another ditch, then climb another clay "wave" until finally arriving at the stone wall of the castrum, and during this whole time the Romans are firing at the invaders with all the weapons at their disposal.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th November 2007


The cross section is, from inside to outside, all within about 25 metres, and all under the fire of the weapons from the castrum.

Slaveni
An interesting discovery just near the stone walls of the castrum, was a storage pit for lime, used for construction, called in Romania "Var"

After 2000 years, it seems that this lime or "Var" is still very good for construction. As one of the diggers said, our bricks today are not as good as the Roman ones, the Roman bricks are still strong after 2000 years, but today's bricks are only good for a few hundred years.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th November 2007




Slaveni
As usual, after a section of the digs is complete, and all search activity is over, the holes here must be covered with clay. This is different to the Aquae site, where the digs remain open for future reconstruction, as is also the case at Sucidava and at Sarmisegetuza.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th November 2007




Slaveni
Two stones found at Slaveni, in a village garden. As at many sites in Romania, a lot of artefacts are in private hands, and it is not always possible to obtain them for the museum.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th November 2007




Slaveni
Another view of the lime pit at Slaveni, found a few metres inside the castrum, just under the stone walls, in the south-eastern part of the castrum. It seems to be a storage area for construction materials. Some of this lime would still be able to be used for construction, after 2000 years underground.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th November 2007




Slaveni
If both sides of the dig are studied carefully, one can see the second ditch dug for defense of the castrum, full of broken bricks and stones. There are three ditches starting from the stone wall of the castrum, to 25 metres outside it. Two smaller ones were constructed as dry ditch defenses, as well as one very big one, perhaps full of water.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th November 2007




Slaveni
This is the frontal view of the stone wall of the castrum. It has a deep foundation of small stones, and over that, starts the main stone wall, now destroyed.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th November 2007




Slaveni
The third ditch, about 20 metres from the castrum walls, a large ditch possibly kept full of water for defense.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 24th November 2007




Slaveni
At the end of November, the 2007 season at Slaveni has ended.

The entire dig from the north-west to the south-east, at the south-east side of the castrum has been covered with clay, as is usual when specialists have finished a season's work, in order to protect it from vandals.

Dr Gheorghe believes that where an important discovery is made, such as a tower, an important ancient building, or even walls, it should not be covered with clay, but a reconstruction and protected area should be commenced, so that others may see the historical value of the area. This requires large amounts of money which is unavailable, so the best that can be done here is to cover it to protect it from damage, until a better resolution can be made.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 30th November 2007




Slaveni
More good news is that the illegal digging on the site, a trench 500 metres long, has been covered with clay again, to protect it, after strong action from the Police and by important people from the Director of Culture, Olt County.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 30th November 2007







Strange water source of Slaveni village



Slaveni Well

Just in the middle of Slaveni village, Olt County, there is another strange source of water, as Adrian and arch.dr.Florin Ridiche, from Oltenia Musuem found in a few places in the huge field between Craiova and Caracal, during their 2008 search for GPS map points of all Dolj County historical sites, around Zanoaga village.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd May 2010




Slaveni Well

The well may have been dug and lined in the 18th century, by a mason from the mountains to the north, and put in the most important places in Oltenia, in memory of someone loved by the donator.

GPS points for this monument: N 44.08374, E 24.52136, alt. 72 meters

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd May 2010




Slaveni Well

These wells are made by a huge stone ring, made in a single piece, about 1 metre in diameter with a height of more than 50 cm.

The stones used to line the well deeper down have all been carefully cut in a circular arc, to make a perfect cylinder.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd May 2010





Cozia Monastery

Cozia Monastery was erected by Mircea cel Bătrân in 1388, and contains his tomb. It is one of the most valuable monuments of national mediaeval art and architecture in Romania.

The appearance of the compound was modified by Neagoe Basarab (1517), Şerban Cantacuzino and Constantin Brâncoveanu (1707), who added a veranda, a new fountain, a chapel and a watch tower, adding to its architecture the 'brâncovenesc' style.

Of great value is the hospital church, 'Bolniţa' (1543), with original well-preserved indoor frescoes like the votive portrait of ruler Mircea cel Bătrân and his sons.

Cozia was painted between 1390 and 1931. Some of the original frescoes (1390) are still well preserved.

Cozia features a museum of art which includes old manuscripts and prints, embroideries and objects of worship.

Text above adapted from Wikipedia.



Cozia


The main entrance of the Cozia Monastery, looking from west to east.

Cozia Monastery is on the right bank of the Olt River, at the exit from Calimanesti to the north.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 18th September 2007




Cozia


The back of the Monastery, with huge stone walls, on the right bank of the Olt River.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 18th September 2007




Cozia


A view of the candles room, just to the right of the main entrance to the monastery. The room is separated into two parts, one for the souls of the dead, and one for those who are alive. Everyone comes here and puts a few candles for their friends and relatives, either to pray for the souls of the dead, or to pray for the health of their loved ones.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 18th September 2007




Cozia


The monastery has a huge museum with a lot of ancient artefacts found in the area, and many church artefacts, such as this wonderful picture painted on a wood panel in 1803, but in a very traditional style.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 18th September 2007




Cozia


To the left of the main entrance, to the north, is a wonderful spring, inside the main courtyard.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 18th September 2007




Cozia


The image shows a church just over the road from Cozia Monastery.

Altitude 282m, 45.27106°N, 24.31487°E

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 22nd April 2008





The Ghost Church of Ocnele Mari

Arutela
When on the road to Rimnicu Vilcea, on the right bank of the Olt River, and about 5-6 Km before it, one can follow a road to the left, to Ocnele Mari. The small town of Ocnele Mari is about 8 Km from this crossroads. It is very old and important, because there are still a lot of rock-salt mines, which are used as a chemical feedstock for industry in the manufacture of many items.

The name Ocnele Mari means Large Jails. The criminal residents of the jails were used as forced labour in the salt mines, a valuable asset at all times for the country. In the middle of the town is this old Royal Church from the Middle Ages, now in ruins.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Arutela Arutela
The walls of this church are cracked and broken, and trees grow up on top of and inside the old building. There are many signs around the church warning people to keep out, because at any time the walls could collapse and kill someone.

Dr Gheorghe asked many people in the town why the building is allowed to remain in this derelict condition, why it is not pulled down. He was told that the church cannot be destroyed, because once when a company was contracted to pull it down, every time that an attempt was made, someone from the company was killed, so that the contractors gave up their commission.

The local inhabitants say that even though the church is obviously not in good condition, the walls are cracked and broken, even so, no strong wind, or snow, or heavy rains can pull it down. The church endures.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Arutela Arutela


The church, like many traditional Romanian churches, was at one time full of frescoes, paintings on the interior and exterior walls, as can be seen on these photographs.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007





Buridava Fortress

Buridava has the first recorded cremation tombs in Dacia. Two such tombs were found there. One of them dates back to a more ancient period of inhabitation. The remains from the cremation were buried in a grave, not in an urn like the Roman practice. These remains were scattered among pieces of broken pots, apparently this was a Dacian ritual.

Its location is near the Great Salt Mines in Vâlcea county. The Romans started to exploit the salt mines, and forced the remaining Dacians to move southward along the Olt, or the Alutus as the Romans called it. Here the romans built the castrum of Stolniceni, which they named Buridava.

Text above from: http://www.unrv.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=7137

Buridava


The path to ancient Buridava, named after the ancient tribal people from the district, called Buri, is very difficult to follow, and passes through forest, at one corner of the town Ocnele Mari, a few kilometres from the middle of the town.

The ancient Buridava Fortress does not exist today, since it was made of clay and wood, and there are only a few artefacts in the area, covered by forest.

This photograph shows a device for raising water from a well, a much later construction than the walls and buildings of ancient Buridava.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Buridava Buridava


These artefacts are from both the Dacian Buridava, and the much later Roman fortress of Buridava, both seen here in a private museum in Ocenele Mari, kept by a priest, a wonderful man, who has searched for these artefacts for more than twenty years, to save them and to put them on display for the public to appreciate.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Buridava Buridava
There is an important church in the area of the town known as Traistari, where the priest, Petre Veteleanu pursues his vocation.

He has graduated not only in theology, but also in History and Archaeology. Petre Veteleanu, takes care of a lot of children through his foundation, and is a fine man. He has a private museum with many old books and other old documents as well as artefacts from the history of the church, and would like to make a real museum in this important town.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Buridava


This is pottery from the fortress of Buridava, either the Dacs' one or the one made by the Romans.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 18th September 2007




Buridava


A piece of mammoth bone, found by the priest at Ladesti, Valcea County.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 18th September 2007




Buridava


An ancient bone tool, possibly from the stone age.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 18th September 2007




Buridava


A large mill stone for grinding cereals, possibly from the time of the Romans.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 18th September 2007





Calimanesti

Calimanesti is a small town to the north of the main city of Vâlcea county, called Rimnicu Vâlcea.

The town is on the right bank of the Olt River, well known for its waters which are used for health purposes in the east of Oltenia, just as Herculane is in the western part of Oltenia.

Calimanesti


A general view of the main park of Calimanesti.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Calimanesti


One of the most important sources of health water in Calimanesti, set up so that many people can quickly and easily obtain the water.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Calimanesti


Looking to the south from Calimanesti Park along the Olt River.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Calimanesti


Looking to the north from Calimanesti Park along the Olt River.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




Calimanesti


A statue in Calimanesti Park, of the Russian composer Ceaikovski, or Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (7 May 1840 – 6 November 1893).

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007








Recent additions, changes and updates to the Alexis site

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This site is to publicise the history and culture of Romania, and displays information from the Alexis Project Association

Alexis Project Filiasi/Romania
RC J/263/230/2007 CIF 21464151
Email: alexis_project@yahoo.com




If you have any photographs or information which would be useful for this site please contact Don Hitchcock


This page last modified Monday, 24th January, 2011 02:17am


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