The articles are of archaeological, historical and museological interest and are mainly related to the region of Banat, although some deal with Romanian and universal history as well
Jan. 1, 2011
The graves described in this study were discovered by members of the Banat Museum Timișoara and the
Institute of Archaeology and Art History, Cluj Napoca, in the area of the Foeni (Timiș County) archaeological
site, “Orthodox Cemetery”. The research took place between 1991 and 2007, and reported mainly prehistoric
discoveries (from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages). However, in the excavations of 1991–1994, 1995–1998 and
2001-2002, archaeologists discovered 18 inhumations graves characteristic of the Sarmatian population. These
graves appear to be only a small part of a larger necropolis, largely destroyed by current orthodox cemetery. Of
these graves, only those excavated during the years 1992–1993 have been published. We consider it important
to revisit the topic in the present study in order to provide an overview of the necropolis, and to complete the
previous study published in 2000, with drawings of the graves. The graves unpublished and discovered in the years
1991–1992, 1995–1998 and 2001–2002 have also been included in this study, making it possible to discuss the
role of grave-goods and the funerary rite and ritual in the Sarmatian necropolis from Foeni.
The graves discovered at Foeni could be dated precisely only in a few cases (M2, M4, M6, M14). K e dating was
based on brooches discovered in the grave. The impossibility of dating the remaining graves is not due to lack of
archaeological inventory, but rather to grave robberies. Based on the preserved funerary inventory, the graves of the
Foeni necropolis date to the 2nd century – first half of the 3rd century AD, the second period of the Sarmatian age,
after the M. Párducz chronology (years 180–270 AD)1. However, without further excavations, we cannot assert
that this timespan applies to the entire necropolis.
In addition to the important chronological data, the Foeni necropolis gives us information about the complexity
of the Sarmatian burial rites and rituals, aspects of the culture seldom discussed in relation to the Banat region.
An attempt was made to identify the distinct ethnic or social groups of the necropolis. Unfortunately, the small
number of graves discovered to this day only allows us to formulate hypotheses supported by the analogies with
the Sarmatian area of the Great Hungarian Plain. However, it is our hope that future anthropological analyses will
answer any remaining questions and will confirm, at least in part, our hypotheses.