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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Ostrovu Mare

The Bronze Age village at the Ostrovu Mare Archeological site is also dying from the lack of effective management by the Iron Gates Museum.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 15th September 2013









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Adrian revisited the 'grave' of the ancient Basilica from Ostrovu Mare Archeological site, to check on the condition of the oldest Christian church ruin in the entire Oltenia area, a site which had been investigated and uncovered by the specialists from the Iron Gates Museum, Drobeta Turnu-Severin, Mehedinti County.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 15th September 2013




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These images demonstrate the Diploma of Incompetence which they richly deserve for not protecting this important part of our civilisation, a historical monument, described elsewhere on this page.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 15th September 2013




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The only task the specialists set themselves was to write a few articles concerning their specialties in journal, and then let the site deteriorate without further care, as can be seen in the series of photographs further down this page.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 15th September 2013




Ostrovu Mare

Step by step this monument is being destroyed by the Danube River, even though the NGO Alexis Project has been trying for years to cooperate with the specialists to save it.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 15th September 2013









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This summer the Alexis Project is doing a new evaluation of the ancient sites of Ostrovu Mare.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 13th June 2011




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The area which will receive the most attention is on the left bank of the Danube, where the ancient Basilica site is.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 13th June 2011




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The entire area is still covered with artefacts, too good to be lost under the waters of the Danube.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 13th June 2011




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Perhaps it would be a good task for students to come here to do a science project, to study them, or even to save them for the Iron Gates museum at Drobeta Turnu-Severin.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 13th June 2011




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This is history revealed - and discarded.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 13th June 2011









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The Alexis team made another visit to Ostrovu Mare Island, where the Iron Gates electrical power plant is, PF II, to make an evaluation of the site.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 13th June 2011




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It is only possible to visit this site in summer, since it is under water for most of the year. The site still has a lot of artefacts, from the Bronze Age period, of pottery and stone.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 13th June 2011




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The artefacts should be collected by specialists whenever possible, to be saved for studies, even if only for projects by school students.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 13th June 2011





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A few years ago, our friend Costi Para discovered at the Ostrovul Mare area, on the left bank of the Danube, the ruins of an ancient basilica, the most beautiful in the entire Oltenia area.

During all those years, the specialists from the Iron Gates Museum, from the town of Drobeta Turnu-Severin worked on this very important site, but without protecting it in any way, even though the Alexis Project tried all the time to ask for protection of this important historical monument.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 12th June 2011




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Step by step, the ancient basilica was destroyed by the Danube River, every spring, and remained without any protection from those barbarians.

The reader can see, by scrolling down this page, the unfolding of this horror story.

Today we publish horrific images of the site as it now stands, destroyed.



Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 12th June 2011




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Even if a specialist is well qualified, he must still take care of our monuments, because those monuments are the property of our country, our people.

Someone should be made responsible for this crime, to allow this historical monument to die, and the Alexis Project still hopes that this basilica can be reconstructed by good people, despite the inaction of the stupid ones.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 12th June 2011








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For many years the Alexis Project has been interested in the ancient basilica from Izvoare, Mehedinti County, near Ostrovu Mare Island.

Every year, we have said that this very important monument is in danger because of the high levels of the waters of the Danube.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 21st August 2010




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This year was a very special one, because the Danube rose more than three metres, and the entire area of the dig was covered by water.

Since from the beginning, the specialists from the Iron Gates Museum, Drobeta Turnu Severin town, Mehedinti County have made no provision for the protection of the site, so, step by step, the ancient basilica is ruined today, as can be seen in these photographs.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 21st August 2010


These images show the grave of the ancient basilica. This is a picture of the achaeological site, after the specialists have done their work.

The specialists have written a very important book on the history of this monument, but at the same time, the monument itself has been destroyed.






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An important objective for the Alexis project activity is to educate the younger generation, as we are doing at the Bradesti School, the Scaesti Project, and so on.

It is very important to receive feed back from young people about our projects and activities.

Since Amelia had been with her parents and Adrian to Ostrovu Mare a few times, Adrian asked her to complete a painting to show what she remembered about a trip there with her mother Amelia and her father Ionut, and with Adrian.

In the picture we can see all these people, as well as the left bank of the Danube, (Dunărea in Romanian) and some stones, as well as a snake which was named Sîlilă, like a person, because we must learn to respect all creatures of nature.

Even though it was a year ago that Amelia was there, she remembered that it was a sunny day, there were boats (one flying the Belgian flag!) plying the river, there were birds and butterflies, and there was a bridge to Serbia.

Amelia is a very clever and talented person, and a credit to her parents and to her nation.

Artwork: Amelia Negut, 16th January 2010.




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For the last three years the Alexis Project has tried to help the Iron Gates Museum from Drobeta Turn-Severin to protect the important monument at Ostrovu Mare.

Each year the Danube River is ready to destroy the ancient Basilica there, but no one tries to protect this important Romanian asset.

Now, in August 2009, the ancient wall from the left side of the Basilica is broken, and the monument is destroyed, at the same time as the specialists continue to work on it, and to publish their great discoveries.

After 2 000 years of sleeping underground, the ancient Basilica is now destroyed. No one cares for the important monuments of this country, a beautiful place but with an uncaring people.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 30th August 2009




Potter


Constantin Para

Constantin Para, a gifted potter and restorer of ancient pottery. His knowledge of the pots of the Gârla Mare (Garla Mare, Girla Mare) and other neolithic pottery was encyclopaedic.

Mr Para was a master craftsman, a Romanian living treasure who deserves international recognition for his artistry, craftsmanship and erudition.

Tragically, he died in a car accident on 12th February 2008 at Drobeta Turnu-Severin, Romania.






Dr Gheorghe writes:

"Yesterday, our friend Constantin "Costi" PARA was killed in a car accident right in the middle of the town Drobeta Turnu-Severin. Costi was a wonderful man, one of the greatest experts in the world with regard to restoration of artefacts.

His career at the Iron Gates Area Museum from Drobeta Turnu-Severin was a long one and a very rich one in the restoration of Roman-age artefacts

The Alexis Project was with Costi in important sites along Danube border as Ostrovu Mare, Izvorul Frumos, Girla Mare, Hinova, Schela Cladovei, Crivina and many others.

Costi was a very good fisherman, and loved his family, especially his son, Mihai.

Costi had a big heart, was very friendly to everyone, was an honest man and also a very modest one. For all these reasons, God now takes Costi to Him, for ever!

And, with the soul of Costi, we celebrate the death of a part of our dreams and hopes for a better future for the culture of Romania country, because Costi was a large part of it.

The Alexis Project team asks you to give only a moment of your life to remember Costi as he was and as he WILL BE FOR EVER: a Man with a capital "M"!"




ostrovo mare paper Paper on Ostrovo Mare by Dr Dorel Bandoc


Ostrovu Mare map
Ostrovu Mare (Ostrovu is an island, Mare is great or large, so the name means "Great Island") is an island in the Danube, in the south west part of Oltenia county, half way between Drobeta Turnu-Severin and Calafat.



Map: Adrian Gheorghe




Ostrovu Mare map
Ostrovu Mare, like Cerat and Malva, is an instance where a stone age site is not far from Roman fortifications. This shows that the area was attractive to two totally different cultures, separated by thousands of years.



Map: Adrian Gheorghe 2006




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Ostrovu Mare is a large island in the Danube River, about 17 km long.

Photo: Google Earth




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A map showing the position of Ostrovu Mare in relation to other sites and centres.

Map: From the paper Old And New Data About The Late Roman Fortification From The Island Ostrovul Mare by Dorel Bondoc (Map acc to M. Davidescu)




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Dr Gheorghe on the beach at Ostrovu Mare, at Kilometre 861, looking for artefacts during heavy rain and cold, in August 2007, under conditions more typical of a winter day than late summer.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 6th August 2007




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Specialists from the Iron Gates Museum (Muzeul Portilor de Fier) at Drobeta-Turnu Severin starting a dig at Ostrovu Mare, in the middle of the Roman Beach Castrum, half way between Kilometre 860 and 861, on the left bank of the Danube.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 6th August 2007




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The initial dig has been pegged out, and dug to a depth of about half a metre.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 6th August 2007




A few weeks later, much progress has been made in this particular dig.

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The digs have exposed a circular wall with an internal diameter of six metres, a width of 40 cm, and a height exposed at this time in the excavation of 40 cm. The wall is like a gate, making a circle to the east and north, and going underground to the west.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 19th August 2007




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Constantin Para from the Iron Gates Museum says that it is the ruin of a Christian Church from the 4th Century, and it is very important for the Romanian history of this area.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 19th August 2007




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This photograph shows clearly the two digs, each ten metres by two metres, side by side with an earth wall left between them which is 40 centimetres wide and three metres high.



Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 19th August 2007




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Two maps of the digs to this point, showing the discoveries already made.

Photos and maps: Adrian Gheorghe 19th August 2007

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The digs at Ostrovu Mare are made by the Iron Gates Museum from Mehedinti county, and are supervised by the head of the museum, Dr Stinga.

The workers have uncovered a presumed fortress and an ancient Roman church, called a Basilica. Progress was initially good, but has been slow during the second half of August and in September.

Here we see Dr Dorel Bondoc, a very well known specialist in the Roman era, an expert on this period. In this photo can be seen behind him at the floor an important level of broken bricks from the broken roof, or possibly another construction as yet undiscovered.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 16th September 2007



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A view of the dig from south to north, from the left bank of the Danube River.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 16th September 2007



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A view of the dig from north to south, looking to the Danube River from its left bank.

As can be seen in this photograph, the main part of the Basilica is built towards the east, an important indicator of its identification as a church. This part of the construction is called the Altar, and in all Romanian churches is placed towards the east.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 16th September 2007



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A few metres from the south wall of the Basilica was discovered another kind of wall which seems not to be a part of this ancient construction because it extends outside the compass of the main building, and is made in a different way.

The Basilica has walls built like a Mixtum Compositum, made of bricks and stones together to make a very strong construction, but the new wall is made only of stones, like an earlier wall, and is at a lower level than the Basilica. However, because the dig has only just started, there is no more data about it.

It should also be remembered that around the present dig and before it was started, many artefacts and ruins were discovered, as may be seen elsewhere on this page.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 16th September 2007



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This winter the level of the Danube was very high, up to three metres above normal, and many areas of Ostrovu Mare were covered by the waters of the Danube. At the place designated by Dr Gheorghe as "The Commander's House", placed about 100 metres to the west of the Basilica from the beach, the entire area was covered by water. It was necessary to climb the nearby hill to access it, a very dangerous activity because the water is very deep at that point, and the clay on which you must climb is unstable.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd December 2007



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In this photograph Alina is trying to go to another area on Ostrovu Mare, about 100 metres east of the Basilica, called by the team "The Village" but it is very hard to find a way through the forest, when the entire beach is covered by water.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd December 2007



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Here Adrian is searching for a way to the Basilica, through the forest around it, since the normal path along the beach is blocked by the waters of the Danube.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd December 2007



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As can be seen on the file Romania Today, the specialists who discovered the Basilica in the summer of 2007 did not take any action to protect it from the high waters of the Danube, so that the entire southern wall of this important historical monument is ready to break and fall into the Danube, to be lost forever.

The photos here may be compared with those further up the page at The Basilica when it was first exposed to the light after 2000 years, and was at that time in good condition, now within twelve months it could be totally destroyed, unprotected by the specialists from the Iron Gates Museum.



Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd December 2007



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Here Alina is right on the edge of the Danube bank, where the southern wall of the Basilica is ready to fall into the river, because the bank is slowly but surely disappearing into the Danube. There is no protection apart from a few signs saying "Archaeological site, Restricted Area". It is stupid to uncover such an important and ancient monument and then provide no protection for it.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd December 2007



Here are the photographs of the devastation caused by the flooding of the Danube:

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Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd December 2007




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It is very encouraging that the specialists from the Iron Gates Museum have now at least marked the site of the Basilica as a restricted area, but there is no other protection for the site itself. The site is in real danger from high water levels in the Danube, which can destroy much of the remaining Basilica.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 1st May 2008




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This spring, in 2008, just as in every year, the Danube has a very high level, more than three metres above the normal level. This high level of water damages the site, which is right on the left bank of the river.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 1st May 2008




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On the left is the image of the wall of the Basilica when first discovered, and on the right is the image showing how the high water of the Danube has destroyed the ground under the wall, so that the wall is ready to fall down into the river. The site which has been exposed to danger now needs proper protection from the river.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 1st May 2008




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As can be seen here, another part of the Basilica wall has already fallen into the river. After 2000 years during which the building stayed hidden safe underground in a very good condition, it has only taken six months to put it in great danger.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 1st May 2008




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Alina making a GPS map for the Basilica site, left, and for the Bronze Age village on the lower part of Ostrovu Mare island, right. Because the Danube was at a very high level this spring, more than three metres higher than normal, all sites on the left bank of the river were covered. In summer when the water is lower, another GPS map of the entire site will be completed.

The mission for the Alexis group is to search for, identify, and preserve the sites, culture and civilisation of the Oltenia area, to the best of our ability.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 1st May 2008





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Dr Gheorghe found part of the upper part of a column, which has inside the stone a channel for an iron piece to fix it to another part of the column, as was normal in this type of construction.

The column appears to be roughly made, without ornaments, which is similar to the method used in the earlier construction of the church. Dr Gheorghe believes that this is a construction from the 3rd - 4th centuries, and was abandoned before completion, as is the castrum in the forest, on the island of Ostrovu Mare, just near the Basilica.

All data to this point indicate that around the Basilica was a very large village where many artefacts were found, beginning with the Mesolithic and chipped stone tools, and continuing with the Neolithic deposits, in which were well made tools as well as pottery and bronze artefacts from the early Roman times, from the 2nd to the 3rd centuries AD.

Dr Gheorghe has asked for cooperation with the Iron Gates Museum in the work of the Alexis Project, so far with little success, but there is a good relationship with the Oltenia Museum.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 16th September 2007



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Two artefacts found at the ancient village surrounding the basilica at Ostrovu Mare: an ancient greek coin, and part of an ancient Roman statue.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 18th January 2008



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These artefacts were photographed in situ at Ostrovul Mare on the 19th July 2007.

They were discovered by the Alexis Project Team.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




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These artefacts shown in situ above were found at Ostrovul Mare on the 19th July 2007.

They were discovered by the Alexis Project Team.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




On the 8th July 2007 the Alexis Project team discovered in the water near the Bronze Age village an ancient tool made of a goat antler, possibly used as a pick for digging soil.

It shows evidence of a hole drilled in it, probably to haft it to a handle.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007


Until the 1st century AD, The Roman Empire had extended to the Danube border, warring with the country named Dacia, now called Romania. For political and economic reasons, the Roman Empire attacked Dacia in the beginning of the 2nd century and managed to conquer it, and Rome's dominion extended until the Roman Empire’s retreat at the end of the 3rd century.

The Roman Empire came back north of the river into Romania in the 4th and 6th century. In the 4th and 6th century the Roman fortifications called "castrum" were no longer built from the military Roman resources, instead, construction materials were taken from civil or military factories or from demolition of old fortresses.

The forest castrum at Ostrovu Mare was studied by specialists over 25 years ago and it was believed to be an unfinished fortress probably dating from the 4th century, abandoned before being finished.

In the winter of 2007, the Alexis Project Team had carefully searched the forest castrum and found 6 fragments of stamped bricks, that did not have the stamps of the Roman legions that had built the castrum, but the ones of manufacturers from south of the Danube river, from what is now Serbia.

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This shows a brick with the stamp "Diana", identified as a construction materials producer from the territories now known as Serbia.


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The brick on the left is stamped with "Diana" and the brick on the right is stamped with "Aquis".


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This is a very important piece, because, after losing Dacia, the Roman emperor Domitian feared to tell the truth to the citizens of Rome because Dacia was an important economic source for Rome and legendary through its richness, so that the Romans named it Dacia Felix (Wonderful Dacia).

So, Domitian created at the south of Danube river, in Serbia, a fake Dacia, that he named "Dacia Ripensis" (Dacia from the border of the River). This image shows a stamped brick with the text "Dacia Ripensis"

The 6 stamped bricks discovered by Alexis Project Team were given to the Museum of Oltenia from Craiova, studied and published in the literature by the archaeologist Dorel Bondoc.


This discovery is important because:
  1. It shows that the forest castrum is a fortress from 4th-6th century.
  2. It confirms that in that time the Roman Empire had lost the former economic and military dominance and capacity, and used resources from other locations.
  3. The diversity of the stamps shows that much of the construction of the castrum from the forest was made with materials brought from south of the river Danube (that is, from Serbia) from many locations (with stamps such as Diana, Aquis, and Dacia Ripensis.)
Photo and text: Adrian and Alex Gheorghe 2007





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On a trip to Ostrovu Mare these interesting items were found between Km 861 and 860, the beach castrum.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2.7.2007




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The downstream end of the island of Ostrovu Mare. On the end can be seen a light to guide shipping coming upstream on the Danube, and warn it of the island in their path. The island of Ostrovu Mare is very close to the left bank of the Danube at this point.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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This European White Stork was feeding on the banks of the Danube just downstream of Drobeta Turnu-Severin on 10th December 2006.

They have normally migrated south to their wintering grounds in tropical Africa by this time. This bird seems to have decided that global warming is sufficiently advanced that it can afford to stay in Europe for the winter.




White Storks are tall (1 m., 2.3-4.4 kg) long-necked wading birds with long bare red legs and a straight pointed red bill. The white plumage of the head, neck, and body contrasts with the black wing feathers highlighted with a sheen of purple and green iridescence. The contour feathers of the lower neck and chest are elongated to form a fluffy ruff that can be erected during courtship displays. A small patch of bare black skin surrounds their brown eyes. Sexes are similar in appearance, though males are slightly larger.

Breeding White Storks prefer lowland open habitats of wet pastures, flooded meadows, and shallow lakes and marshes with scattered trees for roosting and nesting. They have adapted to nest on man-made structures and forage in freshly plowed fields.


Text adapted from: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Birds/Facts/FactSheets/fact-europwhitestork.cfm

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe



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Iron Gates II, seen from the island of Ostrovu Mare. This is a later addition to the original Iron Gates Hydroelectric station, and is built downstream of it, between the island of Ostrovu Mare and Serbia.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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Iron Gates II. These photographs were taken from a point about one kilometre downstream from the dam.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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These are concrete bunkers built about 1950 when Romania and the Soviet Union were in a "cold war" against Yugoslavia and the USA.

Today, all those bunkers are forgotten in the forest.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




Ostrovu Mare fishing
These fishing supports or jetties are put above the highest level of danube, in spring, when there is so much water coming down the Danube that Iron Gates I and II must open their gates to allow the flood waters to get away, so the Danube becomes very much higher than shown in these photographs.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




Ostrovu Mare fishing
Dr Gheorghe writes:

Some people from there told me that in the spring, the Danube rises so high that the entire bronze-age village is covered by water, and also a part of Ostrovu Mare island as well.

The entire road from Simian to Ostrovu Mare is bordered by concrete ditches and walls to protect the villages from the flood waters. The Iron Gates I and II dams cannot control all of the Danube floods, only a part of them.


Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




Ostrovu Mare fishing
The fishing supports or jetties are obviously rebuilt every year, and are only meant to last one season. They are made from bush timber, found in the forest, and lashed together to form a high point above the river to fish from, so that the fishermen can reach deeper water with their lines.

This one in particular seems to offer a very precarious perch over the river!

Dr Gheorghe writes:

In the forest which covers Ostrovu Mare I discovered signs of a high level of water, probably in the spring, when the snows melt and the level of the river is very high.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




Small Roman Castrum or Fort on the left bank of the Danube

Ostrovu Mare Castrum
This Roman castrum or fort on the Danube is dated to about the 2nd or 3rd Century A.D.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




Ostrovu Mare Castrum
The castrum is a small one, and is not named.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




Ostrovu Mare Castrum
No digs have been done on this castrum.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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The rock and concrete and pottery from the Roman castrum or fort is spread across the beach on the left bank of the Danube.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


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The remains of the castrum are gradually being eroded by the river.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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Pottery from this first small castrum, which has artefacts spread along the shore of the Danube. Note also the coin found with the pottery pieces, in this photo.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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These are shards of tiles from a roof. They have been made as flat tiles (tegulae) with a ridge to prevent the access of the weather.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




pottery
These tiles (imbrices) have been made in the traditional way, as rounded, long tiles. Usually they were made with the thigh of the potter as the mould, which gives a slightly broader cross section at one end. The tiles were laid from the edge of the roof, moving towards the top ridge, which was laid last. The tiles were laid with the broader end at the bottom, with the next tile being laid on the thinner end of the one laid first and so on.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




From:
http://www.newarchaeology.com/articles/romanrooftile.php

Ancient Roman tiled roofing is often found in large quantities on archaeological digs of Roman buildings but it is sometimes difficult to imagine what the terracotta fragments looked like when they were all still in situ covering a roman house.

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We generally find two shapes of roof tile and we call these tegulae (singular is tegula) and imbrices (singular is imbrex).

Tegulae are flat oblong tiles with raised sides, imbrices are half pipes, slightly enlarged at one end.

Photo: http://www.newarchaeology.com/articles/romanrooftile.php


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They fit together so that a tegula always slightly overlaps the one below it and on each side the gaps between the tegulae are covered by the imbrices. This is very similar to tiled roof construction still in use in many parts of the world today.

Photo: http://www.newarchaeology.com/articles/romanrooftile.php


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This shows how the imbrex lies over the tegula and protects the building from rain and snow. It is a simple yet effective method.

Photo: http://www.newarchaeology.com/articles/romanrooftile.php


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A large brick or floor tile from the small Roman castrum.

Photo: http://www.newarchaeology.com/articles/romanrooftile.php


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These are beautiful and rare pieces of Terra Sigillata, with sprigged decoration, found at the beach castrum on 8th April 2007 by Dr Gheorghe.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




pottery
These pieces are from Ostrovu Mare, on the left bank of the Danube, half way between "beach castrum" and "Km 860" at a site named by Dr Gheorghe as the "Chieftain's House", the residence of a rich Roman. Here was found a stone and a wonderful huge anchor, a handle for a bone, an oil lamp for light, pieces of Terra Sigillata, and other pottery pieces.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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This is a 10 000 year time line from Ostrovu Mare, almost in the same place was found hardly altered stone from the old stone age, flint tools from the entire stone age, beautifully finished tools from the latter part of the stone age, bronze artefacts from the Roman Empire in Dacia, about the 2nd Century, and bronze artefacts from the end of the Roman presence in Dacia, as well as a few iron arrows also from Roman times.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




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Iron object Iron object


Various iron arrows from Roman deposits in the vicinity of Ostrovu Mare

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd February 2008




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These are iron pieces probably used in the construction of Roman houses at Ostrovu Mare, around the "Basilica" area.

It is possible to guess at the purpose of some of them, including iron door hinges and spikes for securing wooden beams.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd February 2008




pottery

The expert Dorel Bondoc believes that this area must have contained a forge for working with iron and bronze, as can be seen here in these Zgura or iron scraps, found all over the area.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd February 2008




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Bronze and iron artefacts including a bronze signet ring from between Km 861 and Km 860 in the area of the "Beach Castrum"

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




finds
A large bronze vine leaf made of bronze.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




finds
All the bronze pieces discovered in the Ostrovu Mare area over the first six months of 2007.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




letter a letter a letter a letter a
Half way between Km 861 and the Beach Castrum, at the place named by Dr Gheorghe "the Chief's House" this letter made of metal was discovered.

Dr Gheorghe believes it to be the oldest example of movable type in the history of humanity, used for stamping pottery such as Terra Sigillata.

Dr Gheorghe has made an agreement with the Oltenia Museum, through its general manager, Professor Fifor Mihai, and has through this arrangement sent the letter "a" artefact shown above to the National Central Museum, Curtea Domneasca, at Tirgoviste, north of Bucharest, where there is a printing museum, whose manager is Bulei Dumitra, who will look at the artefact and make a proper identification.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




letters of lead
This Roman lead artefact may be compared with the lead letter above. It comes from the website http://www.roman-artifacts.com/

Photo: http://www.roman-artifacts.com/




object
O piesa de bronz cu aspect de nasture gasita in acelasi loc.

A bronze artefact like a fastener found in the same place.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




ostrovu mareostrovu mare
Aceste fotografii reprezinta o piesa de plumb cu ornamente pe ambele fete, descoperita recent la castrul roman de pe plaja, Ostrovul Mare.

These photos represent a leaden object with ornaments on both sides, recently discovered at the Roman castle on the beach, Ostrovul Mare.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2007




finds
A piece of engraved bone, possibly from Roman times. This is a very rare piece, from the start of the first millenium.

It was found on the beach at Ostrovu Mare, and was made as a sheath for a knife. Dorel Bondoc, an expert from Oltenia Museum, identified it as being from a Roman soldier from the 4th Century AD, when the Roman Empire was losing power and influence, and needed foreign soldiers from northern Europe to guard their borders.

This piece may be from a German mercenary working in the Roman Army at the time, since pieces similar to this have been found in ancient soldiers' graves, as well as the graves of other people from northern Europe.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




Bronze age village on the downstream end of the island of Ostrovu Mare

Ostrovu MareOstrovu Mare
This is a bronze age village site on Ostrovu Mare.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




bronze hook
This is a bronze fishing hook from the bronze age site, visible at ground level, on the eastern side of Ostrovu Mare at the downstream end of the island. It is a large hook, perhaps for catching sturgeon.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


bronze knife
This photo shows at the bottom the blade of a beautifully made bronze knife, from the beach on the left bank of the Danube near Ostrovu Mare.

Above that on the right is a piece of iron which could be an iron "cold chisel" or possibly part of a very strong tent peg, from Roman times. Certainly it has been well hammered during its lifetime!

Above on the left is the bronze fishing hook shown above.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


bronze hook
This shows the base of a stone-age pot as well as a handle from a Roman amphora, found on the beach, just downstream of Ostrovu Mare on the left bank of the Danube

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


finds
The base of a fine pottery piece at the Bronze Age village at Ostrovu Mare, from the Girla Mare culture. The holes in this piece are unusual, at 120° apart.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




bronze hook
Pottery handles found on Ostrovu Mare.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


bronze hook
Bases of pots found at Ostrovu Mare.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


shelter
Pottery items of unusual shape.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


potterypottery
This unusual piece is engraved on both sides.
Perhaps it is part of a large serving platter, but in any case it is a beautiful example of the Gârla Mare pottery.

From the Middle Bronze Age Gârla Mare culture


Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


girla mare
Gârla Mare pottery fragments.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


Potter


Constantin Para, a gifted potter and restorer of ancient pottery. His knowledge of the pots of the Gârla Mare (Garla Mare, Girla Mare) and other neolithic pottery is encyclopaedic.

Mr Para is a master craftsman, a Romanian living treasure who deserves international recognition for his artistry, craftsmanship and erudition.


Garla Mare Map
Map showing the extent of the Gârla Mare culture which included the Iron Gates Gorge, but also extended a long way into present day Hungary and Serbia, as well as further downstream on both sides of the Danube.

The Žuto Brdo - Gârla Mare culture includes the Danubian sector from the confluence of the Danube with the Sava to the confluence of the Danube with the Iskur, which empties into the Danube about 20 miles west of Nikopol.

The most western discovery is the one from Kovin, and the most eastern finding is, for the moment, that from Corabia.

Gârla Mare (Middle Bronze Age) culture lasted from around 1300 BC to the start of the iron age in 700 BC, that is, of about the same period as the "Urnfield" culture.


Photo and text adapted from: ANALELE BANATULUI, S.N., Arheologie – Istorie, XIV, 1, 2006,
www.muzeulbanatului.ro/istorie/publicatii/analele_banatului_2006/vol1/12%20szentmiklosi.pdf



girla mare
a small cup, richly ornamented - perhaps for coffee!

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


Ostrovu Mare pottery Ostrovu Mare potteryOstrovu Mare pottery


Ostrovu Mare potteryOstrovu Mare pottery


The "coffee cup" from Ostrovu Mare shown above, restored by Constantin Para.

The height of this piece is 100 mm, the diameter of the lip is 80 mm, the diameter of the pot in the middle of the cup is 110 mm, and the diameter of the base is 40 mm.


potterypottery
Fragments of decorated pottery.

From the Middle Bronze Age Gârla Mare culture

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


girla mare
Gârla Mare (often written as Gîrla Mare) itself is a small village about 20 kilometres downstream from the most southerly point of the islands of Ostrovu Mare.

The Gârla Mare middle bronze age culture and pottery is named after this village.

Photo: Google Earth


girla mare
Pottery fragments, showing many types of handles.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


girla mare
Pottery fragments from the bases of pots, ornamented.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


girla mare
An almost spherical millstone, used for rolling over grain to break it so that it may be cooked for food.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


pottery
A large food platter, probably from the Iron Age.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


potterypottery
A large food platter, probably from the Iron Age, and probably used for fish. It would have been a large oval dish. It was not made on the pottery wheel, but was made by hand, as can be seen where the foot of the dish was attached.

(It is possible to throw an oval platter on the potter's wheel. A narrow piece of clay the shape of a willow leaf is cut out of the middle of the just thrown round dish. The sides are then pressed together altering the circle to an oval or ellipse shape in the process.)

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


potterypotterypottery
Various items of pottery, probably from the Iron Age.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


bones
Bones found at the site, possibly from pigs.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


pottery
Pottery fragments found 13th January 2007.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


hammer
Broken stone hammer from the bronze age village, possibly for warfare, found 13th January 2007.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


flint artefacts
Flint artefacts from the bronze age village, found 13th January 2007.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


flint artefacts flint artefacts
Flint artefacts from Ostrovu Mare from the 'bronze village" from the island of Ostrovu Mare and also on left bank of Danube, in the area of the "Basilica"

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd February 2008


pottery
Verbicioara culture pottery from the bronze age village, found 13th January 2007.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


The Large "Forest" Castrum on Ostrovu Mare

castrumcastrum
Another Roman Castrum or Fort. This is a huge castrum, covering a very large area.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




castrumcastrum
The castrum has not been explored, named or had any archaeological digs on it.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




castrumcastrum
The castrum is almost completely covered by the vegetation, like a jungle in South America. The work to quarry all the stones and transport them to the site, let alone the building, was a huge expenditure of effort.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




pottery
Verbicioara culture pottery from the bronze age village, found 13th January 2007.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe






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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

in a partnership and contract with the Oltenia Museum:
Oltenia Museum Craiova/Romania
CF 4417192
Email: muzeulolteniei@yahoo.com

Because Oltenia Museum has the ability to verify the scientific importance of this information and because the specialists of Oltenia Museum have made contributions to this site, the copyrights to it are part of Oltenia Museum property.



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


This page last modified Monday, 07th October, 2013 08:29pm


Webmaster: Don Hitchcock

Email: don@donsmaps.com


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