• peter clings

Communities in Transylvania during the Dark Ages

There are quite a few archaeological sites that belong to the Dark Ages that can be attributed to a Romance speaking population if one accepts that the pastoral community in Transylvania had a linguistic affinity to the Romanians


I’d like to highlight the case of Comăna de Jos because its late history is very important for the Region in general although it is still a very modest village. On a satellite map, it is located midway between cities of Brașov and Făgăraș

It is one of the 28 such villages dated by archaeologists to the 8th century AD. It was unearthed during digging in the 1980 prompted by the a chance discovery (see report from Glodariu, Costea, Ciupea 1980, pg. 80 from National Archaeological Record of Romania) . The layout of the village is shown below (I copied it from https://www.free-ebooks.net/international/A-ez-ri-i-locuin-e-medievale-timpurii-sec-VI-VII-IX-X-n-Transilvania/pdf?dl&preview)

The black dots are the central stoves, and the lines mark the perimeter of a household. Those were semi sunken dwellings to save on heat and construction materials. There are 23 households in the village, so it could have hosted as much as 115 people. Such villages were not permanent though. Every 6 or 7 years, the community would abandon them and move 5 to 10 km away of it. That was for hygiene but also to allow for the fallowing of the soil around the village. One can imagine that since the soil is salty and relatively poor for harvest it could have never yield enough to sustain a large population. Therefore, all such Pastoral communities would rely mostly on shepherding. For most of the year, the village had a little population, but only in the winter, the entire community was located in those dwellings and the flocks hosted next to those huts


In a 3 hours distance walking uphill, there are the ruins of a modest fortification date to the early feudal period (it was last in use in the 13th century) but could have been there for much longer. Its location is marked on the Google map below with a black circle

The layout of the small fortification is next (copied from Antal Lukas Integral at page 147). It may have serviced the community in need for a very long time. It is given as one of the first Romanian castles because it has good analogies in the early stages of Wallachia just across the mountains and nowhere else. After all, this is the place of origin of the legendary Negru Voda (aka Basarad)

I choose this archaeological finding specifically from a host of others as a representative of the Romanian Dark Ages, because it is located in a region of Transylvania where the existence of a Romanian population was never questioned since the earliest times of the Hungarian domination. The Duchy of Fagaras was a Romanian autonomous region up to the time of Matthias Corvinus, and had as overlords the Princes of Wallachia up to that time


The village next to the archaeological site was the birthplace of Ștefan Mailat, the 16th century ruler of Transylvania, and the ancestral home of his clan. Also, the same village is where Inocențiu Micu-Klein preached as a young priest. The village retained its exclusively Romanian population up to the modern times


With the traditional invasive archaeology a number of 28 such villages dated within the 7th to 9th century have been documented. One can expect that employing modern technology a lot more such long forgotten villages to be detected with ease in the future, and with luck, some to yield also truly spectacular findings, such as written inscriptions etc


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