Category Archives: ROMANIA

7,000-Year-Old Canoes Reveal Early Development of Nautical Technology in Mediterranean

7,000-Year-Old Canoes Reveal Early Development of Nautical Technology in Mediterranean

7,000-Year-Old Canoes Reveal Early Development of Nautical Technology in Mediterranean

The discovery of five “technologically sophisticated” canoes in Italy has revealed that  Neolithic people were navigating the Mediterranean more than 7,000 years ago. The canoes date from between 5700 BC and 5100 BC and are the oldest in the region.

In research published in the journal PLOS ONE, archaeologists describe the discovery, at the Neolithic (Late Stone Age) lakeshore village of La Marmotta, about 30 km northwest of central Rome.

The quality and complexity of these prehistoric vessels suggest that several significant advances in sailing occurred during the late Stone Age, paving the way for the spread of the ancient world’s most important civilizations.

The authors note that the spread of Neolithic culture through Europe was chiefly carried out along the shores of the Mediterranean.

“Many of the most important civilisations in Europe originated on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea,” they write. “Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Carthaginians plied that practically enclosed sea to move rapidly along its coasts and between its islands.”

The writers say Neolithic communities occupied the whole Mediterranean between 9,500 and 9,000 years ago. They reached the Atlantic coast of Portugal by about 5400 BCE.

“It is clear that the Mediterranean Sea must have often been used for travel, as boats allowed rapid movements of population, contacts and exchange of goods,” the authors say.

It’s well known that maritime trade links existed in the Mediterranean during the Neolithic, although until now it was unclear how adept these early mariners were at handling the waves.

Navigating through this uncertainty, the authors of a new study have analyzed five dug-out canoes that were discovered at a 7,000-year-old settlement that now lies at the bottom of an Italian lake.

Canoe Marmotta 1. On display in the Museo delle Civiltà in Rome.

In this study, Juan F. Gibaja and colleagues provide new insights into the history of seafaring technology through analysis of canoes at the Neolithic lakeshore village of La Marmotta, near Rome, Italy.

Excavation at this site has recovered five canoes built from hollowed-out trees (dugout canoes) dating between 5700 and 5100 BC. Analysis of these boats reveals that they are built from four different types of wood, unusual among similar sites, and that they include advanced construction techniques such as transverse reinforcements.

One canoe is also associated with three T-shaped wooden objects, each with a series of holes that were likely used to fasten ropes tied to sails or other nautical elements.

These features, along with previous reconstruction experiments, indicate these were seaworthy vessels, a conclusion supported by the presence at the site of stone tools linked to nearby islands.

“These canoes are exceptional examples of prehistoric boats whose construction required a detailed understanding of structural design and wood properties in addition to well-organized specialized labor,” the researchers said.

Recent nautical technologies and these canoes share similarities, bolstering the theory that the early Neolithic saw many significant advancements in sailing. The authors suggest there may be more boats preserved near La Marmotta, a potential avenue for future research.

“Direct dating of Neolithic canoes from La Marmotta reveals them to be the oldest in the Mediterranean, offering invaluable insights into Neolithic navigation,” the authors add.

The study was published online in the journal PLoS ONE.

Thousands of medieval coins unearthed by metal detectorists in Romania

Thousands of medieval coins unearthed by metal detectorists in Romania

Metal detectorists have discovered a literal pot of buried treasure deep within a forest in western Romania.

Thousands of medieval coins unearthed by metal detectorists in Romania
Thousands of medieval coins unearthed by metal detectorists in Romania

In total, the group unearthed roughly 4,860 coins and three silver plates along with a ceramic pot holding the coins, according to a July 13 translated Facebook post announcing the find.

“Such a discovery brings a wonderful feeling,” Raoul Vlad Suta, one of the metal detectorists who made the discovery, wrote in his post, adding that such a find “is the dream of every history and detection enthusiast.”

Suta detailed how he and two companions found the coin hoard: “I received a short but stable signal [on the metal detector], I put the shovel to work,” he wrote. “I noticed a small silver coin as if it was taken out of my pocket. A few more coins followed at a shallow depth; following the signals led us to what seemed to be a vessel’s mouth.”

The coins were issued between 1500 and 1550, during the reign of Vladislaus II (who lived from 1456 to 1516), the king of Bohemia, Hungary and Croatia. The hoard and its ceramic pot weigh nearly 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) in total, according to the Facebook post

Suta wrote that finding the coins gave the group “tears of joy.” 

The treasure hunters handed over their haul to Nojorid City Hall in western Romania, following a law that states that anyone who finds objects with potential value must notify their local city hall or museum within 72 hours of the discovery. Of the thousands of coins, only four couldn’t be identified by Suta, his friends and town hall officials, he wrote in the post.

Currently, there’s no additional information about why the coins were buried there. 

The law states that the metal detectorists “may be entitled to 30% to 45% of the officially determined value of the treasure,” according to Krónika Online, a Romanian website.

Wolf skull atop 1,800-year-old grave was left by a robber who feared revenge, experts say

Wolf skull atop 1,800-year-old grave was left by a robber who feared revenge, experts say

The range of the studied burial mound in Cheia, Dobrogea.

A wolf skull was supposed to protect robbers from the revenge of the spirit of the deceased buried in a great mound 2,000 years ago. Archaeologists came across this unusual find in the town of Cheia, Romania – in a robber’s dig from ancient times.

The mound is now almost invisible to the naked eye because it is located in a cultivated field and has been ploughed up. The latest geophysical research shows that its diameter could be up to 75 m. The tomb is located in the village of Cheia in the central part of Dobrogea in south-eastern Romania. This region has been the target of the Romanian-Polish expedition since 2008.

Exploration of the interior of the barrow.

Archaeologists have found two graves. The first one, located in the centre of the mound, was looted in antiquity.

‘The closing of the robber’s dig was interesting and unusual. A few stones were placed there, with a wolf skull on top of them. It was probably a magical ritual aimed at closing the looted space to prevent the robbed spirit from exiting and taking revenge,’ says Poland’s research leader Dr. Bartłomiej Szymon Szmoniewski from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. 

The head of research on the Romanian side is Dr. Valentina Voinea from the Muzeul de Istorie Națională și Arheologie in Constanța.

Wolf skull atop 1,800-year-old grave was left by a robber who feared revenge, experts say
Wolf skull, partially cleaned.

The robbers did not steal everything from the grave. In the robber’s dig, the archaeologists found a fragment of a clay oil lamp, broken during the robbery. Its other part of which was in the grave pit.

According to Dr. Szmoniewski, in the grave pit itself, there are partially burnt parts of a wooden structure, which was joined with nails and decorated with bronze fittings.

Parts of the wooden structure from the crematory grave (M1).

‘It was probably a wooden box that contained the body of the deceased and grave goods. It was burned on the spot, as evidenced by the strong burn of the walls and the bottom of the pit. Then, the pit was covered with wooden boards and filled in. Barrows with very similar cremation burials were discovered in Hârșova, known in the Roman period as Carsium, on the lower Danube,’ Szmoniewski says.

There is not much left of the skeleton, because the deceased was cremated during the funeral; only burnt human bones have been preserved.

The researchers also found a large number of burnt walnut seeds preserved whole and as shells, parts of pine cones and other plant remains.

Burnt walnut seed from the crematory grave (M1).

‘The presence of burnt walnut seeds in the burial is an interesting custom known from crematory graves from the early Roman period. In the sepulchral context, walnuts are interpreted as a kind of grave gift – special food for the soul. In the Casimcea river valley in Dobrogea, where we are conducting research, this is the first find of this kind,’ Szmoniewski says. 

This was not the only grave discovered in the barrow. The other one was located at a distance from the centre of the barrow. Archaeologists found a skeleton in it, placed in a wooden structure, probably a coffin, the remains of which were found both above and below the skeleton. 

According to Dr. Szmoniewski, the deceased had a glass unguentarium placed on the stomach – a kind of container for liquid fragrances and toilet perfumes, and in the mouth, there was a bronze coin (an assarius) from the reign of Emperor Hadrian, minted in 125-127 CE.

‘The coin in the mouth of the buried refers to the ancient custom of Charon’s obol, when a coin inserted into the mouth was to be used as payment to Charon for transporting the soul of the deceased across the River Styx in Hades,’ Szmoniewski says. 

Skeletal grave (M2).

Both graves date from the mid-2nd century CE. This is an important discovery for scientists because barrows have not been discovered in this region until now.

‘The unusual wolf skull found at the exit of the robber’s dig in one of the graves may indicate that the robbery was committed by the Dacians – a people who had lived in this area before the arrival of the Greeks and Romans,’ says Dr. Szmoniewski. ‘In turn, the deceased buried in the two graves were probably Romans who came to this area during the Roman colonisation.’

Crematory grave (M1).

The graves were discovered in 2022. Archaeologists plan to continue the research this year. The season will start in August. (PAP)

3,000-year-old human skeleton found in Romanian archaeological site

3,000-year-old human skeleton found in Romanian archaeological site

A 3,000-year-old human skeleton was recently discovered at an archaeological excavation site in the village of Drăguşeni, Botoşani county.

3,000-year-old human skeleton found in Romanian archaeological site
3,000-year-old human skeleton found in Romanian archaeological site

The skeleton dates back to the beginning of the Bronze Age and to the Yamnaya culture, and was identified after exploring a large tumulus in Drăguşeni, according to Adela Kovacs, the head of the archaeology section of the Botoşani County Museum.

“The research in Drăguşeni focused on several periods and multiple sites. We carried out surface research in the area starting in 2018. During a field visit with colleagues from the Institute of Archaeology in Iași, we identified the remains of two large, flattened tumuli, burial monuments, that were becoming increasingly damaged due to agriculture, and we recently decided to study them.

We primarily focused on recovering scientific information and documenting the remains, and so far we have identified only one skeleton.

The skeleton dates back to the beginning of the Bronze Age and the Yamnaya culture, which is not well known in Botoșani county,” Adela Kovacs told Agerpres.

The digging in Drăguşeni was carried out by a team composed of archaeologists from the Botoșani County Museum, in partnership with archaeologists and anthropologists from the Archaeological Institute of Iași, as well the University of Opava and the Silesian Museum in the Czech Republic.

Specialists say that the skeleton “provides very valuable information with regards to the funerary rituals practiced at that time,” and note that “the skeleton bears traces of red ochre, a substance that was placed on the deceased, in the head and in the leg areas, to emphasize a ritual related to rebirth, blood, and the afterlife.

“The body’s position is curled. Initially, it was placed on its back, with the knees brought to the chest, suggesting a fetal position. This baby position represents the return to earth through a future birth,” ” said the head of the archaeology section of the Botoșani County Museum.

According to Kovacs, the entire Botoșani county has numerous tumuli. “The Drăgușeni area in particular was preferred by certain prehistoric communities when it came to burying those who were their leaders, probably, because these tumuli are funerary prestige elements.

The fact that a certain community dug the grave and built these tombs and covered them with actual artificial hills probably signaled to other populations the fact that those buried were top leaders or important people of the community,” she explained.

The skeleton was dug out, lifted, and transferred to Iași, where, following an analysis, anthropologists will determine its exact age, sex, diet, or other anthropological elements.

Roman Road Uncovered in Romania

Roman Road Uncovered in Romania

Archaeologists of the National History Museum of Transylvania in Cluj-Napoca have discovered a Roman road in the city’s central area. Roughly 2,000 years old, the road has been preserved in good condition.

Roman Road Uncovered in Romania

“Several fragments of a Roman road were found, covered with slabs and built of river stones, sometimes glued with mortar, at a depth of about 80 cm.

The orientation of the road is north-south, and it is probably related to the street network of the Roman settlement of Napoca,” archaeologist Cristian Dima from the National History Museum of Transylvania told Agerpres.

According to him, the roads made by the Romans were used for a long time after the fall of the Roman Empire, and some are still used today, at least their route.

In fact, many of today’s roads preserve at least the course of the roads from 2,000 years ago.

“Part of the Roman road networks/routes are still preserved today,” Cristian Dima said, adding that this is especially true in rural areas. “In larger cities, where there are more interventions, these are not kept exactly. Between localities, mostly the same routes are used.

In Transylvania, where the Habsburg and Austro-Hungarian Empires were, they did a lot of construction works, many of them were modified.”

According to the Romanian archaeologist, the roads and other constructions made by the Romans passed the test of time mainly because they were reused and maintained later, but also because the technology used by the Romans, advanced for that time.

“They had quite advanced technology for the time. […] A fairly solid structure was made, with large stones at the base, then with small stones and then large slabs at the top, more or less processed. Feleac tiles, some of them rounded, were used in Cluj.

On a smaller scale, it closely resembles what is preserved today in Pompeii,” Cristian Dima explained.

Ancient Warrior’s Tomb Unearthed in Romania

Ancient Warrior’s Tomb Unearthed in Romania

Ancient Warrior’s Tomb Unearthed in Romania
The warrior’s tomb was found at one of four archaeological sites unearthed during the construction of a motorway in southeastern Romania.

Workers building a new highway in Romania have unearthed the treasure-laden tomb of a wealthy warrior and his horse. The tomb dates to the fifth century A.D., when the region was controlled by a people known as the Huns.

The tomb is filled with more than 100 artifacts, including weapons, gold-covered objects and pieces of gold jewelry inlaid with gemstones, Silviu Ene(opens in new tab) of the Vasile Pârvan Institute of Archeology in Bucharest, Romania, told Live Science. 

Ene is the lead archaeologist investigating the tomb, which was discovered late last year during the construction of a motorway near the town of Mizil in the southeast of Romania, about 140 miles (220 kilometers) from the Black Sea.

Four separate archaeological sites were unearthed during the road construction, and the wealthy warrior’s tomb — which the researchers described as “princely” — was just a part of the most complex site, Ene said.

“This tomb is of major importance because, in addition to the rich inventory, it was discovered at a site along with 900 other archaeological features — [such as] pits, dwellings, and tombs,” he told Live Science in an email. 

The sword was made from iron and has mostly rusted away, but its scabbard is decorated throughout its length with gold-leaf.

Invading Huns

The ethnicity of the Mizil warrior still isn’t known, but the rich grave goods suggest that he belonged to the ruling class in the region’s Hunnic period, or “migration era,” when it was controlled by the Huns, Ene and his colleagues told the news outlet Hungary Posts English(opens in new tab).

The Huns were nomadic horsemen who originated in Central Asia. During the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. they invaded and occupied the far east of Europe, while displacing other peoples — such as the Vandals and the Goths — from their lands, causing them to migrate west.

The Huns were a particular problem for the Byzantine (or Eastern) Roman Empire, which until that time had controlled much of the lands west of the Black Sea — a region that now includes Romania. 

But the Romans lost the region to the Huns, who went on to invade the Western Roman province of Gaul (modern France and western Germany) and even to attack Rome under their leader Attila the Hun, before losing their territory in Europe to a mixed force of Goths and other Germanic former vassals at the Battle of Nedao — a site now in Croatia — in A.D. 454.

The finds also included several pieces of solid gold jewelery, including this one decorated with gemstones.
The tomb was discovered in bad weather and the excavation had to be completed with flashlights so the road construction project could go ahead.
This part of a saddle for a horse covered with gold-leaf and other objects associated with warhorses were found in the tomb.

Princely tomb

The latest archaeological finds at the Mizil tomb included an iron sword in a gilded  scabbard, a dagger, bundles of iron arrowheads and decorated braces of bone that were once fitted to a wooden bow, Ene said.

The dagger is especially ornate, with a gold-covered hilt inlaid with gemstones, he noted.

Archaeologists also unearthed the remains of a gilded saddle, a bronze cauldron, several decorated “sconces” — fittings to hold candles on a wall — and pieces of gold jewelry, he said.

Several weapons were found in the tomb, including a sword, a dagger, parts of a bow and a bundle of iron arrowheads that seem to have been gathered together in a quiver.
The complete skeleton of the warrior and the skull and leg bones of his horse were found in the tomb. The man seems to have been buried wearing a gold mask.
The sword and the dagger found in the tomb are especially ornate; the scabbard of the sword and the hilt of the dagger are decorated with gold leaf.
The hilt of the dagger is covered with gold leaf and decorated with semi-precious gemstones.

The tomb held the warrior’s complete skeleton, and his face seems to have been covered with a gold mask, the remains of which were also unearthed. However, only a leg and the head of his horse have been unearthed so far, Ene said

The archaeologists told Hungary Posts English that the styles of the newfound objects suggest they are from about the fifth century A.D., when most of Europe north of the Danube River was under the control of the Huns.

The excavation of the tomb had to be completed in bad weather and sometimes with flashlights so that the motorway project could go ahead.

The archaeological investigation is now about “half finished,” Ene said. Over the next few months, the bones and artifacts will be cleaned, investigated and put on public display, while the site of the tomb itself will be built over by the motorway project.

A princely tomb discovered in the infrastructure project of the A7 Ploieşti-Buzău highway in Romania

A princely tomb discovered in the infrastructure project of the A7 Ploieşti-Buzău highway in Romania

An impressive archaeological discovery took place on the Ploiești-Buzău section of the Moldova Highway. The excavations uncovered a princely tomb, most likely belonging to a warrior from the migration period.

The discovery of the warrior princely tomb, which contains various weapons and ornaments, some of which are made of gold, was announced by the national highway company CNAIR.

During the feasibility study for the A7 highway, four archaeological sites were discovered on the Ploiești-Buzău lot. Because not all expropriations had taken place at the time, archaeological research continued after the work began, when four other sites were identified.

In the case of the infrastructure project of the A7 Ploiești-Buzău motorway, archaeologists were limited in their investigations because some portions of the route were not expropriated, which led to the impossibility of accessing the entire land, CNAIR explained.

“Even in this situation, on lot 1 of the mentioned project, on approximately 14 of the 21 km, the intrusive archaeological diagnosis could be carried out during the feasibility study phase, and four archaeological sites were identified,” the company said, adding that, later on, four other sites were found.

Archaeological research at one of these sites led to the discovery of the princely tomb.

The archaeological research is carried out by specialists from the “Vasile Pârvan” Institute of Archeology in Bucharest who tried, in extremely difficult conditions from the point of view of the weather, to collect all the information that this type of discovery provides.

Experts consider this warrior tomb dating back 4 or 5 AD centuries to be an outstanding archaeological discovery.

The tomb amazes with its varied and rich inventory, from elaborately crafted and decorated weapons to gold ornaments for both the deceased and the horse in which he was buried.

In the tomb was also discovered the horse next to which the warrior was buried, weapons, but also ornaments. It is, in total, more than 120 pieces, most of them in gold, inlaid with precious stones.

After the archaeological research, the works will be presented to the public in a special exhibition.

Trovants, the living stones of Romania: They grow, multiply and move!

Trovants, the living stones of Romania: They grow, multiply and move!

There are strange places across the world. But these places make our planet such a wonderful and unique place. Among its many oddities and beauties, Earth has living stones.

Trovants, the living stones of Romania: They grow, multiply and move!
Landscapes from the Buzau Mountains, Romania

Although not literally alive, there are geological features in Europe which have the ability to grow and move. It’s actually a natural phenomenon, and the most famous examples are located in Romania.

In the town of Costesti, there are odd rocks dubbed “living stones” that are locally known as Trovants. These strange, extraordinary, weird rocks seem almost out of a Hollywood movie; they can grow and multiply and essentially move.

Trovant the Living Stone

Trovants, the “living stones,” are made out of a stone core, but their outer layers are made out of a kind of sand, which forms around the inner core, acting as a shell. It’s their outer shell that causes the stones to essentially grow.

Their name derives from the German words Sandstein Konkretion, which means sandstone concretion, or cemented sand. These stones can grow in size to a few millimetres, but as large as ten meters in diameter. Because of their ability to “grow,” these geological weirdos are dubbed the “living stones,” although different people call them by different names.

In Romania, the stones are called Trovants, which is a term coined by naturalist Gh. M. Murgoci, in his work “The Tertiary in Oltenia,” where he makes reference to the odd geological features.

For a long time, researchers have tried to demystify the “living stones” capable of autonomous movement. A lot of different versions have emerged and one even states that Trovants are “a silicon form of life.” It is also possible that they are conscious.

Some scientists even claim that Trovants are capable of breathing, of course, very slowly ― a single breath lasts from three days to two weeks. The “living stones” even have some kind of pulse, but it can be detected only with super-sensitive equipment. It turns out that these odd stones are able to move, even though only about 2.5 mm in two weeks.

The Romanian Village Of The Trovants

A whole “village” of the Trovants was found in Romania. They all have a circular, streamlined shape. Locals claim that the “living stones” are even capable of reproduction. In the beginning, a small outgrowth appears on the surface of the stone. It grows and grows until it falls off from the “mother” stone. The new stone is completely detached and starts to grow faster. The active growth is more visible right after rain.

Originally, scientists thought that this had something to do with the structure of the stones. But when they broke in half some specimens, they saw that the “living stones” consist of cemented sand and mineral salts.

Scientists have observed strange rings which resemble those of the trees. And just like it is with the trees, the stone rings reveal the age of trovants. That’s why some believe Trovants are an inorganic form of life.

Most Trovants are found in Romania, in the region of Costesti. There even exists a museum, in which the interesting stones are shown and sold as souvenirs. You can even “plant” a Trovant in your garden and wait for it to grow. The biggest Trovants grow to more than 10 meters in height.

The Andreevka Miracle

“Living stones” can be found also in Russia. Massive round stones periodically pop up from the ground and start to grow in the fields of Andreevka. While Romanians venerate their Trovants, people in Andreevka worship theirs. Their ancestors thought that the stones possess the power of Mother Earth and that if you touch them you could be gifted with strength and health.

Russian and Romanian Trovants consist of cemented stone. But they are unusually tough to break or smash. Usually, no one touches them, so they have the chance to grow from little pebbles to enormous megaliths.

Some Interesting Facts About Trovants

Trovants are always fascinating and mind-boggling natural wonders that attract people from all over the world. Here are some interesting facts you should know about Trovants, the living stones:

  1. The Living Stones are real. Although the most popular are located in Romania, similar geological features have been found around the world.
  2. Trovants can grow in size from a few millimetres to a few meters in size.
  3. Trovants are not uniform; they come in different shapes and sizes.
  4. Some weigh no more than a few grams, while there are other examples that weigh several tons.
  5. The “living stones” are made by “highly-porous” sand accumulations and sandstone deposits.
  6. Some have calculated that Trovants grow 4.5 centimetres a year; however, no scientific study has confirmed their exact growth rate.
  7. The Romanian Trovants need rainwater to grow.
  8. Every time it rains, the outer shell absorbs the minerals from the rain, causing the Trovant to “grow.”


For centuries the locals of Costesti were aware that some of the boulders in their region appeared to grow and might even be alive ― a thought that’s still a controversy. But if we are able to confirm that Trovants are able to breathe and reproduce, then we should really start considering them as living beings. Isn’t it?