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Cultic Discoveries in the Late Bronze Age Settlement from Şoimuş – Teleghi (Hunedoara County)

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The preventive archaeological research fulfilled on the Deva – Orăştie highway route, led us to discover a large settlement dating in Late Bronze Age. Some of the investigated features from this site contain ceramic and bone artefacts, which could
  R EPRESENTATIONS , S IGNS   AND   S YMBOLS Proceedings of the Symposium on R ELIGION   AND  M AGIC E󰁤󰁩󰁴󰁵󰁲󰁡 M󰁥󰁧󰁡   │  Cluj-Napoca   │  2015 Editors: N󰁩󰁣󰁯󰁬󰁡󰁥 C󰄃󰁴󰄃󰁬󰁩󰁮 R󰁩󰅟󰁣󰁵󰅣󰁡 I󰁯󰁳󰁩󰁦 V󰁡󰁳󰁩󰁬󰁥 F󰁥󰁲󰁥󰁮󰁣󰁺O󰁡󰁮󰁡 T󰁵󰁴󰁩󰁬󰄃 B󰄃󰁲󰁢󰁡󰁴  Editors : Nicolae Cătălin Rişcuţa, Iosi󰁦 Vasile Ferencz, Oana Tutilă Bărbat  Review  : Oana Tutilă Bărbat, Iosi󰁦 Vasile Ferencz, Nicolae Cătălin Rişcuţa, Cătălin Cristescu Layout  : Oana Tutilă Bărbat Cover Design : Oana Tutilă Bărbat, Nicolae Cătălin Rişcuţa ( Front Cover : Clay Hands from Vlaha, Cluj County; photo: Mihaela Savu) The authors are responsable for the contents. DTP: Francisc Bajae-mail: Descrierea CIP a Bibliotecii Naţionale a RomânieiREPRESENTATIONS, SIGNS AND SYMBOLS. Simpozion naţional ( 2014 ; Deva)Representations, signs and symbols : proceedings o󰁦 the symposium on religion and magic : Deva, 27-29 martie 2014  / coord.: Nicolae Cătălin Rişcuţa, Iosi󰁦 Vasile Ferencz, Oana Tutilă Bărbat. - Cluj-Napoca : Mega, 2015Bibliogr.ISBN 978-606-543-579-7I. Rişcuţa, Nicolae Cătălin (coord.)II. Ferencz, Iosi󰁦 Vasile (coord.)III. Tutilă Bărbat, Oana (coord.)902  R󰁥󰁰󰁲󰁥󰁳󰁥󰁮󰁴󰁡󰁴󰁩󰁯󰁮󰁳, S󰁩󰁧󰁮󰁳 󰁡󰁮󰁤 S󰁹󰁭󰁢󰁯󰁬󰁳, 2014 / p. 139–170 C󰁵󰁬󰁴󰁩󰁣 D󰁩󰁳󰁣󰁯󰁶󰁥󰁲󰁩󰁥󰁳 􀁦󰁲󰁯󰁭 L󰁡󰁴󰁥 B󰁲󰁯󰁮󰁺󰁥 A󰁧󰁥 S󰁥󰁴󰁴󰁬󰁥󰁭󰁥󰁮󰁴 􀁦󰁲󰁯󰁭 Ş󰁯󰁩󰁭󰁵ş – T   ELEGHI   (H󰁵󰁮󰁥󰁤󰁯󰁡󰁲󰁡 C󰁯󰁵󰁮󰁴󰁹) N󰁩󰁣󰁯󰁬󰁡󰁥 Că󰁴ă󰁬󰁩󰁮 R󰁩ş󰁣󰁵󰅣󰁡 Museum o􀁦 Dacian and Roman Civilisation, Deva, ROMANIA  A󰁮󰁴󰁯󰁮󰁩󰁵 T󰁵󰁤󰁯󰁲 M󰁡󰁲󰁣 Museum o􀁦 Dacian and Roman Civilisation, Deva, ROMANIA Keywords : shamanism, divination, psychotropic substances,  pyraunoi, Bronze Age  Abstract  : The prevenive archaeological research ulfilled on he Deva – Orăşie highway roue, led us o discover a large selemen daing in Lae Bronze Age. Some o󰁦 he invesigaed eaures rom his sie conain ceramic and bone areacs, which could have culic role. Among hese, here are animal bones such as verebras and  phalanges, some o󰁦 hem processed and wih inense using races. They are associaed wih ragmenary decoraed hearhs and porable soves (pyraunoi). There are also such vessels decoraed wih anhropomorphic plasic applicaions. We consider ha hese areacs had uilit in riuals o󰁦 some cul and also being used, probably, in shamanic pracices. INTRODUCTION The archaeological research performed on the highway route Deva – Orăştie in 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀱 led to the discovery o􀁦 a settlement belonging to the Bronze Age, on the terrace o􀁦 the Mureş River, at Şoimuş – Teleg hi (Hunedoara County) 󰀱 . In the following lines, we are going to describe and analyse the contents o􀁦 three complexes discovered at Şoimuş (C 󰀳󰀱, C 󰀴󰀲 and C 󰀳󰀰󰀰), trying also an interpretation o􀁦 the findings recovered from these complexes. Chronologically, these three complexes belong to the Late Bronze Age. In this case, a cultural framing is more di􀁦ficult to establish considering that the mixture aspect to which the discoveries belong to has not been su􀁦ficiently defined yet  󰀲 . The complexes inves-tigated contain a large quantity o􀁦 pottery and bone remains. Besides the numerous pottery frag-ments and unprocessed bones that can be considered as domestic waste, in these three complexes some artefacts which are not related to household activities were discovered. These artefacts are anthropomorphic vessels with plastic applications and symbolic representations, fixed or portable decorated hearths, and processed bones (Pl. I). DESCRIPTION OF THE COMPLEXES AND THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MATERIALS Complex C 󰀳󰀱 is an archaeological deposit which consists o􀁦 in situ  broken pottery   ,  fragments o􀁦 portable decorated hearths and some processed animal bones (Fig. 󰀱). Regarding the ceramic forms, 􀀱  The research team was composed by Nicolae Cătălin Rişcuţa, Antoniu Tudor Marc and Ioan Alexandru Bărbat. A preliminary report was published, cf. SCHUSTER ET AL 􀀲􀀰􀀱􀀲. 􀀲  Cristian I. Popa and Radu Totoianu believe that this cultural mixture, conventionally named as “Deva – Româneşti type discoveries”, includes elements o􀁦 Balta Sărată, Igriţa and Cruceni-Belegiš groups and the tumuli tombs culture, see POPA, TOTOIANU 􀀲􀀰􀀱􀀰, p. 􀀲􀀲􀀶. As far as we are concerned, we believe that important specifications on this cultural horizon will be made only a􀁦ter the full processing o􀁦 the numerous archaeological materials from Şoimuş – Teleghi.   140  / Nicolae Căălin Rişcuţa, Anoniu Tudor Marc discovered whether entirely or in restorable condition, we mention the bag type pots, belonging to the common wares category, with the following characteristics: high profile, with a large mouth and nar-row bottom, decorated under the edge with an alveolar belt interrupted by elongated alveolar protu-berances, disposed symmetrically (Pl. II). Also, two bowls belonging to the semi-fine decorated ware category were found. The first one (Pl. III/b) has a large opening, with a slightly flaring rim, the shoulder is thickened, with a handle attached to it. The decoration on the body o􀁦 the vessel consists o􀁦 a continu-ous hatched band, arranged in the form o􀁦 a meander composed o􀁦 broken lines. The shoulder is marked  with oblique impressions. The second bowl (Pl. III/d) has a slightly profiled bottom, the opening is wide and the flat edge is slightly thickened outwards. A barely outlined ridge, decorated in the same manner as the edge with oblique impressions, is placed on the body o􀁦 the vessel. Also from the ceramic inven-tory, we notice a small fine cup (Pl. III/c) with a globular body, slightly levelled, a rounded bottom, a  well-distinguished neck, a tall and slightly tapered body, and with the edge marked outwards. The belt handle is o􀁦 crescent form and upli􀁦ted. The body presents flat grooves, arranged vertically. In addition,  we mention several shards from a strainer (Pl. III/e) whose upper part is curved inwards. Nevertheless,  we notice some fragments from the rim o􀁦 some vessels whose form suggests the existence o􀁦 lobes.   Fig. 󰀱 . Feature C 󰀳󰀱: general view and detail with pottery and decorated hearth fragments. One o􀁦 the most interesting ceramic items is an installation composed o􀁦 a large pot, to which a firing chamber was attached in the lower part (Pl. III/a). This type o􀁦 installation has been called “por-table hearth” or “kiln-vessel” in the literature or it has o􀁦ten been designated by the Greek term  pyrau-nos 󰀳 .   However, in case of    the item found in C 󰀳󰀱, the firing chamber is missing, an element which used to be connected to the body o􀁦 the vessel at about 󰀲/󰀳 o􀁦 its height, the joining point being marked by an in-relie􀁦 alveolar belt. Traces o􀁦 two symmetrically disposed handles, suitable for transporting the installation, and marks o􀁦 some large holes, which may have facilitated the air circulation through the firing chamber, are also visible. An interesting fact is that, a􀁦ter the pot was completed, an additional layer o􀁦 clay was applied unevenly on its bottom. We can only assume that this final application is an attempt to strengthen the base for resisting the high temperatures inside the firing chamber. Alongside the vessels, parts o􀁦 a decorated hearth were also discovered (Pl. VIII/a). It was exces-sively fragmented because o􀁦 the poor firing. From the data gathered, it seems that this item has been shaped as a curved edges star. Both the top and the edges o􀁦 the hearth were carefully faced, and sev-eral wide parallel channels, following outwards the contour o􀁦 the item, were traced on its surface; 􀀳  ROMSAUER 􀀲􀀰􀀰􀀳, p. 􀀱󰀵. Regarding the terminolog􀁹 see also FISCHL ET AL 􀀲􀀰􀀰􀀱, p. 􀀱􀀲󰀵  sqq ., n. 􀀱; ROMSAUER 􀀲􀀰􀀰􀀳, p. 􀀱󰀵  sqq . Terms designating this installation, respectively this portable hearth or vessel-kiln are not accurate, in our opinion, as they do not depict any constructive or functional features o􀁦 the installation in question. More appropriate is the name o􀁦 cauldron, term preferred also by P. Patay (cf. FISCHL ET AL 􀀲􀀰􀀰􀀱, p. 􀀱􀀲󰀵, n. 􀀱), designat-ing a container for heating and boiling liquids.  Culic Discoveries rom Lae Bronze Age Selemen rom Şoimuş – Teleghi /  141 they were arranged at the interior in the form o􀁦 concentric circles that mark the centre o􀁦 the hearth. Other fragments are smooth, which suggests that the central area o􀁦 the hearth was undecorated. In addition to pottery, three small lithic tools – an fragmentary obsidian blade and a flint point (Pl. III/󐁦) and a polished flat stone (Pl. VI/h), and many animal bones were discovered. Four phalanges draw the attention, two o􀁦 them being processed (Pl. VII/a, b). The phalanges were smoothed through abrasion on one side until it became a flat surface. All the four items present burnish traces and o􀁦 blunt-ing, due to heavy use. In this context, we mention a perforated fish vertebra (Pl. VII/e), processed also by smoothing the edges, retaining traces o􀁦 burnish and blunting. Furthermore, three suines or ovicap-rines vertebrae in anatomical position were found (Pl. VII/g), o􀁦 which two had on one face fine cutting and impact traces, disposed transversally, isolated or grouped, made probably with a sharp metal blade. The anatomical parts represent food remains, bearing the marks o􀁦 skinning and fleshing operations. Fig. 󰀲 . Feature C 󰀴󰀲: general view and detail with river boulders, pottery and fragmented grinder on the bottom o􀁦 the pit.   The complex C 󰀴󰀲 was discovered in the proximity o􀁦 the C 󰀳󰀱 deposit. It is a bell-shaped pit  with a gray filling, “padded” with river boulders in the western part o􀁦 its base (Fig. 󰀲). From the rich ceramic inventory we mention a bowl with a wide opening and a handle placed on the shoulder (Pl. IV/a). The decoration is represented by a continuous register o􀁦 motifs, disposed on the body, consisting o􀁦 two parallel lines, in-between which broken meanders motifs are incised. Moreover, the bottom is also decorated and divided into four parts, each one bearing incised ornaments in the form o􀁦 broken spirals. Other few fragments become from another bowl, wich has a particular ornament, consisting in pointed down arrows (Pl. V/c). Among the discovered ceramic materials, there were numerous fragments from two  pyraunos  type vessels, which are however di􀁦ficult to restore (Pl. IV/b, c). Furthermore, we mention the perforated wall from a strainer-vessel or an incense burner (Pl. IV/e), as well as a fragment o􀁦 a small perforated lid (Pl. IV/d). Decorated and undecorated fragments from a faced hearth were also found in complex C 󰀴󰀲 (Pl. VIII/b). The decoration consists o􀁦 narrow parallel grooves.From the numerous bone fragments recovered, we mention two phalanges, processed by abra-sion and retaining traces o􀁦 burnish and blunting (Pl. VII/i, j), identical to those items found in C 󰀳󰀱, a small pointed tool (Pl. VII/k), an unprocessed deer horn (Pl. VII/l), and many Unio clam shells, o􀁦  which three were perforated in the vicinity o􀁦 their protuberance. Three small stone pieces (a polished one and two flint blades) (Pl. IV/󐁦) and a fragmentary grinder completed the inventory o􀁦 the pit. One o􀁦 the most interesting discoveries is the complex C 󰀳󰀰󰀰. It is a bell-shaped pit, similar to C 󰀴󰀲 (Fig. 󰀳). Numerous pottery and bone fragments were found in its filling, while fragments o􀁦 large vessels were discovered on its bottom. A􀁦ter the restoration process, a  pyraunos  type installation  was completed (Pl. VI/a). This piece is part o􀁦 the semi-fine ceramic category, its surface being care-fully smoothed. It has a reddish colour, with numerous dark spots resulted from secondary firing. The
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