THE FORT FROM RĂCARI
N = level/ layer/ phase
S = Section/ tranch no.
The present file presents, succinct and schematic, the main descriptive elements of the principal archaeological levels (occupational levels, or layers), in order to allow the understanding of the entire situation, as well as to explain several references from the reports concerning one or another layer. This does not imply a complete description, but a minimal one, for the representativity of the inhabitance sequences. This description is susceptible of changes, as the research will advance.
1 – SMALL CAMPAIGN FORT (within Dacian-Roman wars?)
1.A – the digging of the defense ditch and defense and inhabitance arrangements
1.B – the plugging of the ditch and the leveling of the vallum.
in the leveling (or in another position, superior to the ditch) a dupondius from Faustina I (after 140) was found, in 2003, and a sestert from Antoninus Pius (156/ 7), which pushes the building of the large earth fort in the second half of the IInd century; in 2005 an older coin has appeared (extremely blunt, belonging to the Antonine dynasty, prior to 140), on the inferior level of the alley (=N.2), but of course, it may not contribute to a better dating.
Notes: at least theoretically, it is possible that this 2.A phase to precede phase 1.C.
The dupondius from Faustina was actually found in an arrangement level of the barrack from level 3.1; of course, this fact is less important due to the fact that the sestert from Antoninus Pius dates the leveling post 157.
2 – LARGE EARTH FORT
2.A – the digging of the ditch and the raising of the vallum; the later may be actually theoretical, due to the fact that there is nothing on the ground to be attributed to this vallum; the defense elements which can be clearly attributed to phase 2, on observable elements, are two pits which seem to have been part of the palisade arrangement, and a tower with stone basis, in praetentura dextra, in the middle of the curtain; the tower is over-posed by a small ramp (which hardly can be called “vallum”, with a height not over half of meter, but clearly bearing the signs of the stone curtain construction, several thin mortar lines and stone chips), belonging to the next phase; we can conclude, for now, only with the presumption that phase 3, being erected on the same line, the vallum of the previous phase would have been completely removed, as to allow the typical construction of the wall; at this phase we can only hope that future researches will bring supplementary elements, because on S.1 (praetentura dextra, perpendicular on the eastern curtain) and S.2 (praetentura sinistra, on the same curtain, in a symmetrical position) similar results have been obtained, although unclear.
(2.A1 – the plugging of the old ditch, leveling workings in interior)
2.B – the reconfiguration of the interior; protraction of Via Sagularis, as well as of the alley between the barracks, which will function, almost without modifications, in phase 3 as well.
2.C – the functioning period of the large earth fort
Note: there is no prove that there would be more than one functioning sub-phase; on S.1 there is little archaeological material, but from here no chronological conclusions might be drawn; S.2 had been stopped, at the stage of 2005 campaign, on the beginning area of the barracks, the investigated area being here to small to allow quantitative hypotheses.
3 – STONE FORT
3.A – the palisade is replaced with a stone wall, on approximately the same line; the double ditch of the previous phase is covered up and the large ditch is dug (this ditch is 11 m width; the order of the operations may be inverse), towards exterior, to which subsequently is added, towards East, at least one more defense ditch; very possible, these operations have been undertaken during a longer period of time; it is possible that ditch 2, from the exterior, to have been added at any time before phase 4; behind the wall, dark gray clay is brought, on a height of minimum one meter, realizing the first visible agger; Via Sagularis is moved ca. 2 meters towards exterior, to make room for larger barracks. The moment seems to correspond to the most numerous military presence from the entire period of the fort’s existence.
3.B – functioning level. The alley between the barracks, protracted in 2.B, continues to function, being progressively raised, by grail adding. This functioning level is sometime recalled, in reports, as level N.3.1.
3.C – the older level of the stone fort is burned down.
3.D – follows a leveling and a rearrangement of the interior space; a new earth level is added over the agger (this level-yellowish clayey), probably corresponding to the supplementary elevation of the wall, or, simply to some reparations (at the contact area between the blackish vallum – the first of phase 3, respectively sub-phase 3.1 – and the yellowish of sub-phase 3.2, building materials may be also found); Via Sagularis is elevated, but it seems that, from now on, the stone arrangement of the road seems more neglecting;
3.E – functioning level: the agglomeration is still great, due to the fact that – probably now, although not surely – part of the alley is blocked by a new room added to the barrack 3.B.1 (southern part of S.1); this functions for a little period of time, for over the remains of the constructions reappears the grail of the alley (see especially the South profile, photo); This functioning level is sometime recalled, in reports, as level N.3.2.
3.F – this second vallum of the stone fort is as well destroyed by a burning.
4 – LAST PHASE OF THE FORT
4.A – the fort is reconfigured; the apparent motive seems to be the reduction of the garrison at a level that made the defense of the old walls impossible. The old hypothesis – that the fort would have been “shortened”, through the longitudinal closing, E-V, on the centre, and the abandonment of the southern part, has been confirmed by two complementary elements: 1) the systematic demolition of the enclosure wall, in the southern half (or, at least on the S.1 opening, at the eastern curtain); 2) the adding of a tower, on the northern half of the eastern curtain (explication: there wasn’t any qualitative stone in the area; the reutilization of the old one was practically the only solution)
4.B – functioning level; as regarding the northern half, we can say that it was refortified, at least by adding of a new tower of large dimensions, on the middle of the front side; the agger is elevated again, by adding of a third layer of clay (conventionally named – “brown”); the rearrangement seems complete, including a Via Sagularis brought, in plan, even closer to the curtain (immediately behind the new tower); new barracks are build as well; in the southern half, new houses are erected, but not through the leveling of the burnt remains and rearrangement, but through the occupation of a “clean” area, namely the former Via Sagularis and interior alleys. What has been discovered in S.1 seems to represent the remains of more than one construction (and the report of the military archaeologists, for 1991 campaign, suggests a similar situation near the western curtain). The interior of the former fort is no longer integrally occupied, priority having the previous alleys between the barracks. In that area a well with brick structure has been found, on S.1, and in the immediate area, towards North, pottery workshop seems to have functioned (numerous fragments of new or raffled pottery being present here).
4.C – as concerning the conditions of abandonment of the last fortification, we can make no assertions; we presume that a calm (or ordered) abandonment, for there are no burning signs
coins (level 4; situation before 2006):
5 – IVth CENTURY (?)
We reserve Level (or "N") 5 to a hypothetical human presence along the IVth century, due to the numerous coins reported in the past (Tocilescu team; because, what is odd, they miss from Florescu and Vlădescu reports); nothing from our investigation, after four campaigns, indicates such a presence
6 – VIth CENTURY
- the VIth century settlement is well attested in the area, through coins (518-520, 3 exemplars), as well as through several huts, in the fort; in 2004 we found a ceramic fragment at app 50 m NV of the fort, the settlement extending, therefore, there as well, and also several ceramic fragments in the interior of the fort; the sole complex which can be attributed to the VIth century has been investigated cvasi-integral by the militaries.
7 – RECENT INTERVENTIONS
This is the level that indicates the recent profound interventions (the modern ones), affecting the stratigraphical situation (the investigations of our archaeologists colleagues, up to 1992, or the interventions of the locals to take out the construction materials).