Experimental Archaeology: Bronze Age Ceramics

In 2008, during construction works at St. Nicholas Parish, Câmpina, Romania several Bronze Age graves dating over 3000 years old have been unearthed. The archaeological digs that followed during the next 5 years brought to light an entire necropolis numbering 60 graves, most of which were of inhumations. Over 75% of the burials contained a ceramic inventory some of which of up to 4 vessels. The shapes, decorations and techniques used in producing them as well as the types of clay and firing techniques vary considerably. Broadly the pottery finds can be classed under 3 main cultural horizons: Monteoru, Noua and Tei. However it is worth noting that a great number of the vessels innovatively and elegantly combine the distinctive elements attributed to these different cultures. Three of the graves contain also a number of 6 amphoroidal vessels. All these seem to confirm, as well as to bring new information regarding transitional nature of those times, an interpretation that can be drawn from a number of other sites from the neighbouring areas dating from the same period. They emphasise the eclectic as well as idiosyncratic character of these communities lying at the confluence of wider cultural horizons that were firmer locked within the canons of their industry and rite. The C14 dating method places the oldest burials in the 15th century B.C., and the most recent ones in the 12th century B.C., (we can therefore say that the community who buried their kin here for over three centuries were contemporary with the New Kingdom of Egypt and iconic pharaohs like Tutankhamun and Ramesses the Great)


  • St. Nicholas Parish
  • Vessel decorated in “Monteoru” manner, Grave 6
  • Vessel decorated in “Tei” manner, Grave 2
  • Selection of pottery, drawings
  • Graves 2 and 7, drawings
  • Human remains, Grave 2
  • The site, ensemble drawing
  • Pottery selection
  • Pottery selection
  • The new church
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With the support of the Center of Experimental Archaeology from the Royal Complex, Târgovişte, and the blessing of Vicar Petru Moga, the Archeological Association Gorganu will begin a series of activities in the field of experimental archeology on the premises of St. Nicholas Parish from the 29th July. We will attempt to reproduce the different types of pottery and the techniques used in making it starting by investigating and processing the different types of locally sourced clays, then by experimenting with the techniques and methods in shaping and decorating the vessels, all of which without the use of potter’s wheel. We will finish our experiment by constructing a type of prehistoric kiln and researching the adequate parameters of firing in order to achieve the types of pottery found on this site.

Under the guidance of Chief Archeologist Alin Frînculeasa and the expertise in prehistoric ceramic of Florin Dumitru, we aim to reach a pragmatic understanding of the craft of Bronze Age pottery in this area. We also take on this challenge in the light that the pottery still carries the living fingerprint of those who created it and offers us priceless glimpses into the day to day lifestyle, skills, culture, symbolism and beliefs of those in whose footpaths we still tread, only that thousands of years apart.

panoramic parohia sf nicolae 2

An Archeological Association Gorganu & The Center for Experimental Archaeology project.

Asociaţia Arheologică Gorganu logoCentrul de Arheologie Experimentală