The Gumelniţa Culture in Northern Dobrudja

by Cristian Micu


History of Researches

History of Researches
II 1951-1980


           Romanian relevant literature comprises no study dedicated exclusively to the history of the Gumelniţa culture researches in Northern Dobrudja. It is true that there are a few data in earlier studies (Comşa, 1953; 1971) that, unfortunately point out, as only naturally, the "pioneering" period of the approached field.

           I. 1898 – 1950

            This interval of time can be regarded as the period of the first surveys. During the spring of 1898 Pamfil Polonic – the father researches the tell settlement  close to the locality of Luncaviţa, the location of Cetăţuia. On that occasion a design of the place was carried out, as well as a short description of the detected archaeological realities.

           In 1910 C. Moisil mentions the occurrence of ‘prehistorical objects’ at Luncaviţa and Garvăn (Moisil, 1910, 174). On the same occasion, he mentioned the discovery of silex tools and a stone hammer (polished and perforated) on the territory of the locality of Niculiţel, close to the old ford of the Danube, seemingly in a "prehistorical site".

           An important moment relates to the initiation of a research project of the mediaeval fortress of Garvăn-Dinogetia. From 1939, Gh. Ştefan and the team of the site carried out a series of surveys around the fortress. On that occasion, a vessel considered to be Gumelniţa was purchased, having, unfortunately, an unknown provenience (it seems somewhere between the localities of Garvăn and Văcăreni). Once more time the tell settlement of Luncaviţa, the location of Cetăţuia, was visited, and a Neolithic settlement on the island of Popina Mare on the Crapina lake was mentioned.

           In 1947 Gh. Ştefan and E. Bujor discovered the Gumelniţa settlements of Somova and Enisala during a long survey carried out in northern Dobrudja, along the Danube and of some interior streams (comşa, 1971, 12).

           II. 1951-1980

            During this period they continued the field walking in northern Dobrudja, while the first information surveys were carried out.

           In the summer of 1951, E. Comşa, a member of the research team at Garvăn-Dinogetia, would initiate a new series of surveys on the territory between Măcin, Garvăn and Luncaviţa. On that occasion they mention a few localities close to which they discovered settlements considered to be Gumelniţa culture communities: Garvăn, the location of la Chiatra, Văcăreni, the location La Vărărie, Luncaviţa, on the left part of the Luncaviţa stream valley, opposite km.3+400 (probably of the road linking the localities of Luncaviţa and Nifon, not far from the tell settlement in the location of Cetăţuia).  There are a few more locations with finds assigned to the Neolithic – Garvăn (on the bank of Jijila pond), Jijila, the location of La Sevastin – or isolated materials, found outside the identified archaeological context.

           E.Comşa would be the first to initiate an actual research into a Gumelniţa settlement in northern Dobrudja. During two short campaigns (conducted in 1951 and 1959) he conducted two stratigraphical surveys in the tell settlement of Luncaviţa, the location of Cetăţuia (Comşa, 1952; 1962). The researches at Luncaviţa also made it possible to conduct the first study on a fauna lot (Haimovici, Dardan, 1970).

           During the same period the tell settlement of Baia was researched (the Boruz tell), practically by applying an excavation method similar to that of Luncaviţa, that is making small stratigraphical sections into a margin of the dwelling space (Berciu, 1955; Morintz, 1962, 280).

          Although the resear ches conducted in the Gumelniţa settlements in northern Dobrudja do not provide but few data, contributing only to the formulation of some work hypothesis for the future, E. Comşa tried (starting from his personal observations), in 1971, to integrate into a synthesis of the whole Neo-Eneolithic Age on the territory of the county of Tulcea.

          In 1975, E. Lăzurcă initiated, by a small survey conducted in the locality of Luncaviţa, the location of La Cioara, a series of rescue excavations in the Gumelniţa culture settlements on the territory of the county of Tulcea (Lăzurcă, 1977; Haşotti, Lăzurcă, 1989, 45).

         The researches from 1978 at Sarichioi, the location of La Bursuci, made it possible to formulate somehow different interpretations of the studied archaeological context (Oberlander-Târnoveanu, Oberlander-Târnoveanu, 1979). Related to these researches, one should remark the much closer observations on the inventory of the settlement, of the nature of the dwelling in that location, of the type of economy practised by the Eneolithic community.

           That period ends by the rescue researches from 1979 at Enisala, the location of Palanca, at the foot of the mediaeval fortress (Lăzurcă, Mănucu-Adameşteanu, 1980).

           III. 1980 - to the present

           The year 1980 marks the start of the long-term research programs in the Gumelniţa culture settlements in the county of Tulcea. between 1980 and 1986 at Carcaliu, in the location of Vadu Mare, E. Lăzurcă entirely researched a settlement with two dwelling layers belonging to the Gumelniţa A2 phase (Lăzurcă, 1984a).

           As a rich collection of stone tools and weapons from the Neo-Eneolithic Age was gathered in the Tulcea Museum of Archaeology determined the realization of macro- and microscopic tests, to which also some Gumelniţa material was submitted, which made it possible for Elena Lăzurcă (1984b) to identify some possible sources of raw matter for the settlements in northern Dobrudja.

           The end of the ninth decade of the 20th century two new Gumelniţa settlements were discovered and researched. They lay in the central area of the county, space ignored until then. In the settlement of Trestenic (Lăzurcă, 1995) were found four dwelling layers having a material “specific of the transition phase from the Boian culture to the Gumelniţa culture and the beginning of the Gumelniţa culture”.

           Much fewer data were obtained from the researches at Mihai Bravu, the location of La Moară. (Lăzurcă, 1995, 21).

           A vast research program, in a Gumelniţa culture settlement in northern Dobrudja was initiated in 1988 at Luncaviţa, on the tell in the location of Cetăţuia (Micu, Maille, 2000).