The Bronze Age in Romania: Periodization, Chronology and Relation to the Prehistoric Fire Symbolism

Cristian F. Schuster
Institute of Thracology, Bucharest, Romania

The connection human being-environment, must be always seen according with the former necessities, his necessity of survival in conformity with his food resources, with his protection while facing the nature’s hostilities, those of the animals, or those of other human communities. But, as it was often pointed out, “these place might receive also a supernatural legitimity and a consecration”. Three components are playing a significant role in the socialization of these places: its election (the space might have topographic properties, signs of a hierophany), its cutting out (a space symbolically conceived as an absolute reference point), its construction (the addition of some artificial elements). For the Romanian Bronze Age, as regards the settlements, dwellings, ovens, hearths etc. is extremely difficult to deceal the mentioned moments.
     In the following lines, we will try to do that.
     1. In order to obtain larger agricultural terrains,given that the majority of the Romanian regions were forested at that time, it was often used the slash–and-burn techique (a similar technique was employed for the settlements establishing).
     2. The relation fire-settlement could be detected both by the existence of some fire installations and the voluntary or involuntary intervention of the fire upon
the constructions (upon the materials out of which they are built of), upon the implements, weapons, adornments, osteological remnants etc. Below, we will
pay the proper attention to the entire lot of issues enlisted here. Despite that to the Romanian BA are proper both the open settlements and the fortifications (in fact fortified settlements), the latter being actually in a lower percentage than the former category of sites, the data conerning the role of the fire in the construction of some fortification elements are rather lacunary and uncertain.
In some settlements, exterior platforms made of burnt clay have been unearthed. They had various locations,raising modes, forms and thicknesses, on their surface or/and around them sometimes being found a multitude of archaeological materials, some of them extremely interesting and significant.
     3. In our analysis with respect to the Romanian BA hearths and ovens, we will consider the following aspects: hearths = their location (in the perimeter of the constructions: in deepened dwellings & in the surface dwellings; exterior hearths; hearths in the caves; hearths in pits) & the shape of hearths (circular & oval & rectangular) & construction mode (made exclusively out of clay, directly on the ground & on a bed of ceramic fragments & on a bed of stones & on a bed consisting in a mixture of ceramic fragments
and stones) & hearths types (simple, with smoothened surface or margins & with border) & usage duration (long time & short time) & functionality (domestic & cultic); ovens = their location & the shape of ovens & usage duration & functionality.
2002 © European Science Foundation
2002 © Prehistory Foundation & Reports of Prehistoric Research Projects
2002 ©The author
Editor: Lolita Nikolova
All rights reserved. Published: 12/22/02
Since 12/22/02