A national archaeologist and economist, born on the 25th of October 1846, the eldest of Constantin Butculescu's children, he comes
from the old family of captain Mihai Roşioru. In 1557 the latter, upon
the return of Michael the Brave from
As family head, he had to return to this country in 1866 for family affairs. His first archaeological work dates from 1867.
He conducted systematic archaeological surveys in Romania in various localities of the following counties: Teleorman, Vlaşca, Argeş, Ialomiţa, Muscel, Prahova, Mehedinţi, Romanaţi, Iaşi, Fălciu, Ilfov.
He gave to his cousin Cesar Bolliac copies of these surveys, in the autumn of 1868, and others coming from Măgurile Calomfirescu, Zimbreasca, Balacii Pădureţi (Teleorman), Prunaru (Vlaşca), Crăsani (Ialomiţa) in 1872.
The largest prehistorical, Dacian and Roman part, his own very rich collection, was conserved in his house in 11 bis Clemenţii Street, a building he built by himself in “his style”, designed by him to stand as a model, as he wanted to create a local original style.
In 1873 he married, through Ion Ghica's intervention, the niece of the latter, Ecaterina, born Panu Olănescu. The couple had only one child, Mărioara, married to Ioan Glogoveanu, a former president of the Muscel Court of Justice, and later a Judge at the Ilfov Court of Justice.
A great importance in his surveys holds the uncovering of a whole fortress close to Câmpulung (Muscel county) on the bank of the river Târgu, that is Jidava (Jidova, Cetatea Uriaşă, Grădiştea). His paper on Jidava was submitted at the Romanian Geographical Society in 1888, and then on the 30th of September 1889 at the World Ethnographical Societies Congress, before the International Congress of Ethnographical Sciences in Paris. He was congratulated on that paper by the memebers of the congress, including Franck Oppert, Masspero etc.
In early October 1876 he discovered at Valea Cetăţuia in the so called Fortress of Negru Vodă on the river Dâmboviţa, the fortified camp of Emperor Constantine the Great.
D.C. Butculescu died
in 1916 in
In this first part, as in the following ones, we are going to tackle a great personality of Romanian culture from the second half of the 19th century, Dimitrie C. Butculescu, who had a highly important contribution to the knowledge regarding the remote and very remote past of the history of extra-Carpathian territories: Moldavia, Dobrudja, Wallachia and Little Wallachia.
As he conducted a lot of field walking and excavations, he left many notes, some of them very valuable, as well as a rich collection of archaeological material. This collection has justly been regarded as the fruit of a long selfless research of Dimitrie C. Butculescu, a precursor of archaeological studies in this country. That makes of this collection a moral symbolic value, not to be evaluated in money, standing as an example of the noble idealistic endeavours of forebearers, especially in a field bestowed with great scientific and national significance, in spite of its modest beginnings.
It is worth mentioning that in September 1870 the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education appointed Butculescu “delegate to the Archaeological Committee of the Capital”.In the official paper (signed for the minister by Gr. Tocilescu) it is mentioned that “we hope that by accepting this task you will be able to fulfill it with dilligence and intelligence”. (see the official paper of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education no. 8995/19th of Spetember 1870).
Many archaeological researches (known at that time under the name of ‘explorations') conducted by Butculescu shortly after his return to this country from Paris and continued years on end make us consider him to be one of the precursors of archaeological studies in this country. Starting from the archive documents found in the Butculescu fund we shall present chronologically some of these researches.
As he functioned as a delegate to the Archaeological Committee, Butculescu obtained from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education the approval to conduct archaeological researches in settlements found on the territories of the counties where he had requested to:
1. a locality on the Ialomiţa river bank of the Ialomiţa district (see the official paper of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education no. 9142/2nd of February 1870)
2. the county of Teleorman (“conducting the archaeological works you intend to carry out in this county” (see the official paper of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education no. 10173/4th of October 1873 signed by the minister Christian Tell)
3. the counties of Teleorman, Argeş and Dâmboviţa (in order to conduct “geographical explorations and studies) (see the official paper of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education no. 8880/23rd of September 1874)
4. the county of Muscel (“explorations” in various places in the county of Muscel – the minister offered him for these researches the sum of 400 francs while mentioning that the objects discovered should be brought to the museum) (see the official paper of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education no. 8518/2nd of September 1876)
5. the county of Muscel (for “explorations already begun”) in that county the ministry approved an extra 400 francs for these works; at the same time Butculescu received two rooms at Câmpulung Monastery in order to deposit in them the ancient objects found in the town as well as those that would be discovered during the researches conducted) (see the official paper of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education no. 9745/2nd of October 1876).
It is worth mentioning also the official paper of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education signed by minister Petre Poni by which the latter accepted Butculescu's request from the 20th of August 1891 to conduct archaeological researches in this country; the official paper reads: “by your own expenses, with the obligation to give a large part of the objects you will discover to the National Museum in Bucharest” (see the official paper of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education no. 7931/21st of August 1881).
Description of coloured drawings (watercolours) carried out by Butculescu
They consist of: bricks, stone, iron, bronze tools, clay vessels, pottery fragments, etc., uncovered by him during the “explorations” conducted in various settlements.
Fig. 1 – Jidava – 1876 (county of Muscel): 10 watercolours: 7 iron artifacts: 1 key, 1 fork, 1 spear, 4 arrow tips; 3 bronze artifacts: 1 key, 1 fibula fragment, 1 ring.
Fig. 2 – Jidava – 1876: 7 watercolours: 1 fork, 6 arrow tips
Fig. 3 - Jidava – 1876: 8 watercolours: 6 iron spikes with wide ends; 2 iron coils.
Fig. 4 - Jidava – 1876: 5 watercolours: 1 bronze key, 1 iron key, 1 iron chisel; 1 iron cramp; 1 iron artifact; 1 bronze ring.
Fig. 5 - Jidava – 1876: 2 watercolours: 1 brick fragment with incised signs: XIII, XVII, V; 1 whole grey vessel with circular bottom.
Fig. 8 - Jidava – 1876: 1 watercolour: 1 brick fragment with two incised lines in vallum arranged parallely with Latin inscription.
Fig. 9 - Jidava – 1876: 1 decorated brick fragment with three incised lines in vallum arranged parallely (0.49 x 0.33 x 0.18 m)
Fig. 10 - Jidava – 1876: 1 watercolours; 1 brick with vallum incised decoration (0.42 x 0.28 x 0.065 m); 1 brick fragment with incised decoration made up of three parallel lines concurrent in an angle (0.41 x 0.27 x 0.065 m).
The Roman camp of Jidava (Sidova) – currently the locality of Apă Sărată, included in the town of Câmpulung-Muscel is situated between this locality and Goleşti hermitage. That camp, built out of stone and canabae,was meant to control the road through Bran pass (Limes transalutanus). It was built during the 2nd century (AD) – the age of Emperor Septimus Severus, and lasted during the age of Emperor Gordian III (238-244 AD).
Etching: Vadu Lin (county of Muscel) representing, according to Butculescu, a dolmen bearing engraved runic characters, discovered by him in 1881.
Figure no. 1 – Cetăţuia (in front of Dâmboviţa, county of Muscel) – October 1876: two mediaeval vessels, one a cup with thick handle and another a spherical vessel with circular bottom.
Figure no. 2 – The Fortress of Dâmboviţa (county of Muscel) – 1876 – 3 mediaeval pieces: 1 whole cup with handle decorated with incisions (four parallel incised lines band). 1 vessel fragment (the upper part of grey colour with incised decoration, rich in groups of 5 lines in vallum towards the base; 1 perforated round whirlpool.
Figure no. 3 - The Fortress of Dâmboviţa – 1876: 2 vessels: 1 amphora with two handles (one broken); 1 fragmentary cup, preserving the upper part with a handle starting from the rim, the piece bears incised decoration (two bands of three parallel lines)
Figure no. 4 - The Fortress of Dâmboviţa (county of Muscel) – 1876 –
A half-cylindrical vessel (in the upper part and in the shape of a truncated cone in the lower one, with a wide handle starting from the rim).
Figure no. 5 - The Fortress of Dâmboviţa – 1876 – 2 pieces: 1 massive clay weight with lateral orifice in the upper part; 1 vessel in the shape of two truncated cones with circular bottom having a broken handle and incised decoration in its upper half, consisting of three zigzag parallel incised lines bands.
Figure no. 1 - Măgura Calomfirescu – 1868-1870: 6 watercolours: Gumelniţa pottery fragments with deep decoration (grooves), wavy incised lines, channellings, with decoration in relief.
Figure no. 2 - Măgura Calomfirescu – 1870-1873: 6 watercolours: 4 Gumelniţa pottery fragments with decoration in relief or finger imprints band; 1 fragmentary lid with incised nail imprinted lines; 1 spherical vessel with painted decoration (with grafitti).
Figure no. 3 - Măgura Calomfirescu – 1868-1873: 3 watercolours: 3 Gumelniţa vessels one of which a toy vessel or strainer with narrow rim and wide bottom with perforated walls (circular holes) arranged in parallel lines. It should be mentioned that Butculescu considers this layer to belong to the mediaeval layer, not to the Eneolithic one, although by its shape, quality of the pottery, etc., it is typically Gumelniţa.
Figure no. 4 - Măgura Calomfirescu: 2 watercolours: 1 lid with handle; 1 whole vessel found by Butculescu in 1871 in a kiln, 2.50 m deep, with wide rim from which start two perforated knobs, and on the maximum diameter it bears two parallel rows of finely incised lines.
Figure no. 5 - Măgura Calomfirescu – 1868-1873: 6 watercolours: 1 massive scraper on silex blade; 1 oval clay weight perforated in the upper part; 2 oval pieces one of which bears on a wide face the figure of an incised human being, while the other has four small grooves; 1 object hard to define (out of stone?); 1 typically Gumelniţa bone idol representing a sketchy human form. All the pieces (silex, pottery) belong to the Gumelniţa dwelling.