Category Archives: ROMANIA

An ancient human skeleton dating to 3,000 years ago was discovered in Romania

An ancient human skeleton dating to 3,000 years ago was discovered in Romania

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

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.

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

“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.

Underground Labyrinth With Secret Passages, Tunnels In Dobrogea Plateau, Romania

Underground Labyrinth With Secret Passages, Tunnels In Dobrogea Plateau, Romania

In many cases, the world below us is just as fascinating as the ground we walk on. Across Europe, there is a hidden, often millennia-old subterranean realm of tunnels stretching from the north in Scotland leading down to the Mediterranean.

Limanu Cave’s secret, and still unexplored passages and roads. The network gallery actually resembles a city street map, like the street network of an ancient city developed chaotically, thus the impression of an underground city.

It is an underground world of never-ending tunnels, massive caves, and labyrinths dug by unknown ancient men. There are also underground labyrinths that have not been fully explored yet.

One of them is located about 52 kilometers from Constanța, historically known as Tomis, the oldest continuously inhabited city in Romania.

A Vast Underground City Where You Can Get Lost

This vast labyrinth of 12 hectares lies beneath the plateau of Limanu. Researchers started to investigate the place in 1916 and discovered traces left by humans, carved walls and ceilings, and ancient ceramic fragments.  

Drawings and inscriptions in Roman and Cyrillic alphabets on the walls prove the cave was inhabited between the 1st century BC and 10th century AD.

The labyrinth is vast, with a total length of passages approximately 3.5 km. Dacians used it to hide from the Roman proconsul Marcus Licinius Crassus (c. 115 B.C. —53 BC), who played a vital role in transforming the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. The cave’s early inhabitants used a marking system to avoid getting lost.

Approximately 4,000 meters in length, Limanu Cave is the longest in Dobrogea. It has a chaotic branching of galleries, like the street network of an ancient city.

Some researchers believe that at least some of the galleries were entirely dug by human beings, as there are tooling marks on the walls. Certainly, Limanu Cave represented an important human refuge, even since Dacian times.

The network of galleries resembles a city street map, like the street network of an ancient city developed chaotically, thus the impression of an underground city.

Remarkable Galleries 

Some of the galleries have rectangular, very regular sections, and it seems humans carved them as signs of chiseling are visible. In order to avoid the collapse of ceilings, supporting walls and pillars were built in limestone slabs.

The drawings of galloping horses are of particular interest, while their riders have faces displayed from the front. Their silhouette and presentation strikingly resemble those of Dacian riders depicted on pottery discovered in many settlements in the area inhabited by Thraco-Dacians.

The earliest drawings are very likely from the prosperous time of the Geto-Dacian culture, the time when the cave was furnished as well. Other pictures show Christian religious symbols, letters, or words in the Cyrillic alphabet. This artwork belongs to the Roman-Byzantine period and the subsequent times.

According to Ph.D. Adina Boroneant, “Vasile Pârvan” Institute of Archaeology, Romanian Academy, the Limanu Cave was a shelter for the local population until later, 10th-11th centuries AD.

Surveys have revealed archaeological material proving that local Dacians inhabited the cave even in that era. Existing evidence allows us to assume that a local Geto-Dacian authority ordered the maze of Limanu as a defense measure against the Roman danger.”

The account of Dio Cassius shows that the cave was a place of refuge, purposefully chosen and renovated, not some adventitious cavern,” Ph.D. Boroneant writes in his ‘Labirintul subterrane de la Limanu’ (The Underground Labyrinth of Limanu).

Tales  Of Mysterious Sounds Coming From Underground Realms

Local stories mention strange and frightening wails like a prolonged high-pitched cry of grief, pain, or anger coming from the depths of the earth.

A scientific explanation for these strange sounds provided by speleologists is that the eerie wails are produced by the wind that sweeps through many underground galleries at Limanu. This noise affects the human psyche.

The cavern has a unique characteristic: although it is located on a complex of lakes and close to the Black Sea, it is so impenetrable that not even water can pass through.

The cave is also known as Caracicula (the old name of Limanu settlement), Bats’, or Icons’ – due to some images carved in stone that once guarded the entrance.

Limanu Cave is one of the three habitats in Romania for horseshoe bats – Rhinolophus Mehelyi. The species decreased from over 5,000 specimens to about 300 individuals.

However, ecologists warned about the vulnerability of the cave, which is a magnet for treasure hunters. Through their actions, they tend to destroy the fauna.

Being located near the border with Bulgaria, Limanu cave had the reputation of a tunnel carrying fugitives across the border, particularly during the communist time.

There are many reasons to suspect the Dobrogea caves are hiding mysteries still waiting to be discovered.