Troy of the Carpathians

Troy of the Carpathians | A 3400-year-old fortress found in Sântana

Troy of the Carpathians

One of the largest fortifications in the prehistory of Europe, with an estimated age of about 3,400 years, was highlighted during some archaeological excavations carried out this summer in Santana, in Arad County, with specialists claiming that the site exceeds the size of Troy.

A 3400-year-old fortress discovered at Sântana, 28 km from Arad, is considered by the historians to be “Troy of the Carpathians.” Built 14 centuries before Christ and unique in this part of Europe, the fortress is considered to be one of the largest prehistoric fortifications in Europe since the late Bronze Age. The fortification covers an area of over 80 hectares, three times more than the famous ancient fortress. In addition, the perimeter revealed by archaeologists for the Santana fortress is 3,300 meters long.

Troy of the Carpathians
Troy of the Carpathians aerial view

Historians call it the “Old Fortress” of Sântana, contemporary with Homer and the Mycenaean period of Greece, as a Troy of these lands, making also a comparison between the surface of the Arad fortress of about 89 hectares and that described by Homer, Troy having 29 hectares, according to Radio Timisoara. Unlike Troy, which was built of stone, the Citadel of Sântana was built of wood and clay. The construction is complex, with three rows of fortifications, surrounded by deep defences of over four meters and waves of more than 20 meters of earth.

The excavations in the Sântana area started in 2009 and were carried out by historians from Romania and Germany, from the Institute of Archeology and History of Art of the Romanian Academy in Cluj-Napoca and the Goethe University in Frankfurt, benefiting from co-financing from Germany. After excavations, especially during the past two years, archaeologists have managed to bring out a small portion of the fortress. Latest technology and magnetometric measurements have helped them draw it.

“We researched about 55 hectares of the nearly 90. And, as a result of the measurements, we found results that scare us: a huge palace, 100 meters long and 40 meters wide.

We want to continue digging and, as far as possible, we want to make this fortress great, just as it was over 3,000 years ago. Because it should be mentioned that at that time the fortress of Sântana was capital of Europe, “said Professor Florin Gogâltan, from the Institute of Archeology and History of Art of the Romanian Academy in Cluj-Napoca, quoted by Aradon.

Troy of the Carpathians
The fortress of Sântana site

“Basically, we are in front of one of the most important discoveries of the largest fortification in the prehistory of Europe, which dates back to 1,300 BC, so it is 3,300-3,400 years old. .) I have repeatedly compared Troy because this city is larger than Troy and it is a reality.

Obviously, it was a comparison that would allow those who love history, archaeology, to take a picture of the size of this settlement, “said Professor Florin Gogaltan of the Institute of Archeology and History of Art of the Romanian Academy on Wednesday Cluj-Napoca, one of the researchers who worked on this project. According to him, the city of Santana is known since the end of the eighteenth century, when it appears on the maps of the Austrian military, but the archaeological research in the area began only in 1963, under the supervision of professor Mircea Rusu, from the Institute of Archeology in Cluj Napoca. The results were modest because of almost no funding in archaeology. A gas pipe, which destroyed a portion of the fortification, was the one that allowed the resumption of research, 46 years later.

“We resumed the research, together with our colleague Victor Sava, from the Arad Museum in 2009, during a rescue dig. A gas pipe destroyed a portion of this fortification and we had to do rescue excavations And the results quickly became known to the scientific environment, publishing a brochure and more specialized articles.

We wanted and hoped to resume research, but unfortunately, we did not have any support or funding, so it was only on the occasion of an international symposium held in Frankfurt in 2016 that we again presented the results of our research.

Then it was born the idea to resume this research with the support of my colleagues in Germany, “said Professor Gogaltan.

Scientific research was resumed in the summer of this year, and the results were outstanding. The fortification, covering more than 80 hectares, was investigated again, and specialists concluded that they are dealing with a real capital of the Bronze Age.

Troy of the Carpathians
Santana fortress site

“It is a little known but extremely representative. It is a capital of the Bronze Age in Europe,” says Professor Florin Gogaltan.

Researches at the Santana fortress took place alongside a team of German archaeologists, coordinated by Professor Rudiger Krause of Goethe University in Frankfurt.

The works at the Santana site will continue this autumn with magnetometric research, a method that allows specialists to “see” underground what complex, what dwellings exist. After these investigations, archaeological research will focus on these findings.

“We have to do a field research to see what other old dwellings exist in the area because the perimeter is huge,” said Professor Florin Gogaltan.

Also in the fall of this year, in September, the results from Santana will be presented at an international symposium to be held in Germany. It is hoped that the research teams will be able to obtain new funding from Romania and Germany to continue, next year, the research works started this summer.

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