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Archaeological Excavations in Romania, 1983 - 2012.
Preliminary Archaeological Reports

Archaeological Excavation Report

Oarda | Commune: Alba Iulia | County: Alba | Site: Cutina | Excavation Year: 2017

Excavation Year   2017
Bronze Age;
Later Latène
Late Eneolithic;
Late Bronze Age;
Late La Tène
Site Category
Site Types
Open settlement
Map it   Find it on the Romanian map
County / District  Alba
Locality   Oarda
Commune   Alba Iulia
Site  Cutina
Site Sector
Site name   
Persons involved and Institutions
Last nameFirst nameroleInstitution
Bălan Gabriel Muzeul Naţional al Unirii, Alba Iulia
Burlacu-Timofte Raluca Muzeul Naţional al Unirii, Alba Iulia
Ciugudean Horia Muzeul Naţional al Unirii, Alba Iulia
Hansen Svend Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Berlin, Germany
Kalmbach Johannes Roemish-Germanischen Kommission, Germany
Rustoiu Gabriel Muzeul Naţional al Unirii, Alba Iulia
Uhnér Claes Roemish-Germanischen Kommission, Germany
National Arch. Record Site Code 1053.05
Report Oarda – Cutina is a multi-period settlement situated on the east bank of the Sebeş River, 3 km south of where the Sebeş meets the Mureş River. The 15 ha large site is located on a river terrace used for agriculture, and is delimited by the steep bank of the Sebeş River in the west and a steep ravine on the northern and eastern sides. Only the southern side, which leads into a valley, is easily accessible from the outside. Field walking at the site has found Gáva, Coţofeni and Dacian ceramics. The site was first surveyed with a magnetometer in 2016 - nota 1, followed by LIDAR mapping and further geomagnetic survey in April 2017. The investigations at Oarda – Cutina were conducted with the aim to better understand the settlement and to determine if the site at one point was fortified.
LIDAR mapping. The LIDAR image does not reveal any pertinent information regarding prehistoric habitation, nor does it show any indication of earthworks connecting the naturally well defended northern, western and eastern boundaries which would fortify the open southern side (Fig. 1). There is a shallow 115 m long manmade depression that starts below a terrace at the site’s western edge and continues towards the east. Part of the same depression is visible on the magnetogram. As this feature is located at the lower section of a slope leading north, it is however highly unlikely that it is part of a defensive structure aimed towards the south. About 200 m south of Oarda – Cutina there is a semi-circular shallow ditch running around part of a low hilltop. This feature has a diameter of 140 m and inspection in the field shows that it is a largely eroded modern military trench.
Geomagnetic prospection. Muzeul Naţional al Unirii Alba Iulia and the Römisch-Germanische Kommission – Frankfurt am Main surveyed Oarda – Cutina with a five-channel SENSYS MAGNETO®-MX ARCH magnetometer in April 2017. The sensors on the magnetometer were employed in a 50 cm distance array on a hand-drawn fiberglass cart. A Leica DGPS was used for Geo-referencing with the rover on the magnetometer, which enables data acquisition with RTK fix and a positional accuracy of ±0.02/±0.02m. Raw data processing and interpolation was made with SENSYS MonMX, DLMGPS and MAGNETO® - ARCH, and Oasis Montage 8 was used for post-processing. Analysis and data evaluation was made in QGIS 2.18.
The combined 2016 and 2017 survey area at Oarda – Cutina covers 5.5 ha with focus on the central part of the site, but also including stretches of land near the borders of the terrace. As on the LIDAR image, there are no indications on the magnetogram that the site was fortified. When evaluating the 2016 and 2017 data together there are two main magnetic anomaly concentrations. The first is situated on the central higher part of the terrace, just before the slope begins towards the north (Fig. 1/A). It extends for 250 m east to west and about 80 m from north to south, and covers circa 1.4 ha. In the eastern part the magnetogram there is a cluster of three large anomaly concentrations of which two are aligned east to west and one north to south. They have values between 2 to 4 nanotesla, and their sizes range between 7 to 9 m in length with widths of about 5 m. Based on their size and nT values it is possible that they constitute remnants of burned surface buildings. Surrounding this cluster are several scattered anomalies with nT values between 1 and 4 and diameters ranging from 2,5 to 5 m, together with a large amount of smaller magnetic anomalies with 1 to 6 nT. The overall impression of this anomaly concentration is that it consists of typical settlement features including surface buildings, pit-buildings and pits. Smaller anomalies with nT values ranging around 6 are likely various fire installations.
The second main anomaly concentration is located on the northern lower part of the terrace (Fig. 1/B). It measures 180 x 70 m presuming that the area in the centre that is not surveyed also has anomalies belonging to the concentration. Unlike the southern part of the terrace, the magnetogram of the northern area has nothing resembling surface buildings, instead the anomalies fall in the size and nT ranges interpreted above as pit-buildings, pits and fire installations.
Evaluation of data. Given that ceramics from several periods have been found at Oarda – Cutina, and that no systematic surface collection with find mapping could be done in the time allotted for the survey, it is impossible to determine if certain types of ceramics belong to various anomaly concentrations and it is equally impossible to determine which anomalies are contemporary. It is therefore not viable to make any reliable statements about the character of the settlement, and it is at this point equally likely that the site had several periods of shifting low density occupation as a few phases with more dense habitation. It is however clear that prehistoric occupation is concentrated to the northern part of the site and to a slightly higher situated area at the central terrace. It also seems that the site was not fortified although the terrace has excellent natural defensive properties on three sides. That the site was occupied during several periods is probably attributable to its good location close to the Sebeş River and agricultural land on the terraces east of the site, and possibly to adjacent lands for gracing in the valley and hills to the south.
Abstract other lang.
Bibliographic notes 1) H. Ciugudean, C. Uhnér, S. Hansen, G. Bălan, G. T. Rustoiu, R. Burlacu-Timofte, J. Kalmbach, Oarda, mun. Alba Iulia, jud. Alba, punct: Cutina, în Cronica Cercetărilor Arheologice din România, campania 2016, a LI-a Sesiune naţională de rapoarte arheologice, Muzeul Naţional de Istorie a României, Bucureşti, 24–27 mai 2017, Bucureşti, 2017, p. 235.
Source   Cronica cercetărilor arheologice din România
Editor   INP
Language   RO

Copyright: the authors of the reports and the National Heritage Institute, CIMEC, 2018.
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