Valentin Cedica


Jan. 1, 2022

metal artifacts
Basarabi Culture



Lands of Banat, as a congruent physical-geographical space and historical entity, are historically and cartographically bordered by the Mureș River, the western extremity of the Southern Carpathians, the Danube River and the Tisza River. The paper makes references to finds from the Romanian Banat, bordered to the north by the lower course of the Mureș River, to the east by the western extremity of the Southern Carpathians, respectively of the Godeanu Mts., to the south by the trans-mountain sector of the Danube and to the west by the state border of Romania. The eponymous necropolis (village Basarabi, municipality Calafat, Dolj County) was systematically investigated since 1943 by V. Dumitrescu. Results were published in 1968. The term "Basarabi" is generically used to denote an assemblage of material archaeological discoveries from the Early Iron Age (EIA), associated with spiritual / religious expresions. The chronological framing of the manifestations of the Basarabi culture has generally as limits the second half of the 9th century BC and the first half of the 6th century BC. For naming of the Basarabi manifestations, several terms were used: cultural horizon, cultural, complex, cultural complex, phenomenon, period, group, cultural group, style). The definition and difference of their name in terms of the period of occurrence, the formation and spreading area is mostly based on the analysis of the decoration of the ceramics from large geographical areas (imprints with "S's" and inlaid with a white substance, the "registered trademark" of the Basarabi culture, grooves, hatched triangles, ”tremolo”-s, printed concentric circles connected by tangent lines and stamped "S"s, one or more alveolate girdles, associations of alveolate belts and incisions, zigzag strips spared by incised hatchings, strips with crescent-shaped stamps, hatched strips and combinations of some or other of these elements). The association of modes and styles of ornamentation refers to a sum of cultural (ethnic?) components from a wide geographical space that had been subsumed under the term Basarabi. Two evolutionary schemes were proposed for the internal periodization of the Basarabi culture, one with two phases and another with three evolutionary phases. A general theoretical picture of the "Basarabi complex" includes an area of origin (Kerngebiet: southern Romania, northwestern Bulgaria, northeastern former Yugoslavia - Voivodina and the Greater Morava Valley, the area of the Iron Gates) and a spreading area (Ausstrahlungsgebiete: to the south-eastern Alpine area - in the west and to Moldavia, on the left bank of the Dniester - to the east. The catalogue renders metal objects made of metal (bronze and / or iron) attributed to the Basarabi culture (EIA, 8th – 7th c. BC), found in Banat, south-western Romania (Pl. I - certain finds), edited or unpublished discoveries, fortuitous or coming from systematic researches. The materials are presented by categories and subcategories. The chapters / subchapters are organized as follows: I. Utensils / Cups, 1. Iron knives, 2. Fragment of a cup handle; II. Adornments, A. Bronze hair spirals (Noppenringe, Schläfenringe, Drahtspirale; loop rings), Pl. II, A.1. Bronze hair spirals with simple loop, A.2. Bronze hair spirals with an "8" -like shaped loop, B. Tubular bronze spirals, Saltaleoni, C. Plaques, D. Bronze necklaces, D.1. Twisted necklaces / torques, D.2. Knobbed necklaces / Knotenring, Pl. III, E. Bronze bead, F. Bronze bracelets, G. Foot rings (1. Bronze foot rings; 2. Iron foot rings), H. Bronze pendant; III. Attire accessories, 1. Fibulae (Pl. IV), a. (certain finding location), 1. Fibulae with two springs and knobs on the body, made of bronze coated iron (zweischleifige Knotenfibeln), 2. Fibulae with two springs, iron body, circular or rectangular in section, decorated with transverse grooves (`ribs`) and hourglass–shaped catch plate (Gabrovec type 5c; Bader type zweischleifige Bogenfibeln mit sanduhrförmiger Fußplatte, D var.: mit rippenverzierten Knoten Bügel; Vasić type zweischleifige Bogenfibeln mit sanduhrförmiger Fuß, variante mit gerripten Bügel), 3. Iron fibulae with two springs, rectangular section body and triangular catch plate; (Gabrovec type 3a-b; Bader: zweischleifige Bogenfibeln mit sanduhrförmiger Fußplatte, var. B: mit vierkantigem Bügel; Vasić: zweischleifige Bogenfibeln mit sanduhrförmiger Fuß, variante mit glattern Bügel), b. (uncertain location / chance finding): 1. Body of a bronze coated iron fibula, decorated with eleven knots (Rusu 1963, 201, n. 65: Vače type fibula; Bader 1983, 91: zweischleifige Knotenfibeln, nr. 242, Taf. 31/242, 92, dating: 7th c. BC), 2. Bronze fibula, two springs, twisted body and triangular catch plate (Bader 1983, 75, nr. 154, 76-77, Taf. 25/154: „Romanian or Yugoslavian Banat”, zweischleifige Bogenfibeln mit dreieckiger Fußplatte, D var.: mit tordiertem Bügel), 3. Bronze buttons is a widespread category of the female attire set. They are circular, hemispherical, with a grip loop in the concave part and have little chronological value; IV. Harness accessories (Pl. V): A. Bronze circular pendants (Ringanhänger, Ringscheiben-anhänger, pandeloque, Ghidici type pendants), B. Ornithomorphic protomas / protomae / Wasservogelprotome (pendants) – three dimensional representations. They are a special kind of parts, consisting in a schematically, more or less realistic representation of the head and body of a water bird ended in a loop. Six such protomas had been found in Banat.