PEATS ROMANIA – Archaeological Skills/Surveying Traditional Buildings

PEATS Romania – Archaeological Skills/ Surveying Traditional Vernacular Houses & Agricultural Buildings in Râmeț, Trascau Mountains of Transylvania

Placement dates: 3rd August-3rd September 2022
Number of UK Participants: 6 + accompanying person AP
Duration: 32 days

PEATS-Application-form

Accommodation: Mountain chalets or the schoolhouse, both have shared
rooms, bathrooms/toilets and cooking facilities.

Meals: Meals provided by the Host.

Communication: There is wi-fi at the chalets but not the schoolhouse, as yet we do not know which accomadatation will be used. Wi-fi is available at the village hall which is near by.

Transport: The group have use of a 7-seater Zafira people carrier. At least one driver needed.

Weather: In August the weather is quite hot, temperatures can reach 30 degrees during the day, but in the mountains it is a bit cooler.

This year’s 32-day placement, offered by the Satul Verde (Green Village) Association is in the beautiful mountain commune of Râmeț, which is made up of 13 hamlets. Set in wonderful hay meadows surrounded by rocky crags and mixed native forest, the traditional houses and farm buildings are built of wood with steep longstraw thatched roofs. They are seriously under threat and every year several are lost due to abandonment or lack of repair. We need to carry out practical work to raise awareness and put pressure on the Authorities. The area is mountainous, being the Trascau mountains – part of the Apuseni in the Carpathians. A traditional farm and the surrounding area is the venue for most of the
training and surveying and accommodation is in mountain chalets or the schoolhouse, both have shared
rooms, bathrooms/toilets and cooking facilities. The programme consists of blocks of time on specific surveying and recording skills.

What the group will do:

– survey, measure, photograph, sketch thatched houses, barns, stables;

– look for particular signs & peculiarities of each building;

– create a map with GPS coordinates of the recorded buildings

– record owners (where possible) – with the help of a guide;

The process involves walking & working in a stupendous (almost medieval) functioning landscape.

        

Week one. Early in the week, we visit the ethnographic museum in Brădești and are inspired by the restored traditional house which houses some the museums collections. The house was moved to it’s current location 7 years ago, by a Satul Verde/Grampus led international team. Monica Oprean of Satul Verde completed here Masters dissertation on recording mountain buildings and Monica will explain her method and the group agree on a recording process. Initially the most local buildings are recorded. You will have a local guide to liaise with different owners of buildings. The Mayor, Vasile Raica, is a
supporter, so the wheels of the process have already been oiled. In this first week a digital map should be produced that all recorded buildings are entered onto

Week two. Surveying starts in earnest. The team will remember to take particular notice of markings
on timbers or fundament/curtain wall stones; they can record formal ‘blessings’ by the Orthodox church,
family marks, ‘good luck’ marks or symbols to guard….or could be graffiti or carpenter marks. The team must also record the trees around the houses and field barns. Most are ash, Fraxinus excelsior or hybrids with eastern ash varieties. They existed in that position in the landscape to supply ‘leaf hay’ as winter fodder for sheep and cattle. Many trees were pollarded, shredded (high pollarding) and still have an architecture bearing witness to this process.

Week three. Surveying continues but we have some time making “cordage”- twin/rope from natural fibres. We can do some“caulking”- draft proofing, on some of the wooden buildings, by winding it into cracks between wall timbers, on others (non-residential), we might use a cow manure mix. When you record owners names and given the chance, you might try to gauge their interest in keeping these buildings into the future?

Week four. The interactive virtual map takes its final shape. By clicking on a certain building on the map, a photo appears with some basic data. Hard to be sure of, is the age of the buildings, the best opportunity is through discussions with local owners and families. There seems to have been a bit of a building boom after World War One. By the end of the month, you will have a sound understanding of the entire cultural landscape. Throughout the 32 days, we will also explore nature, especially the wonderful array of hay meadow and forest flowers. We might also pick edible mushrooms and forage for other wild food, which we’ll eat – with you learning something (depends on your interest) about preparation and local recipes. We will also volunteer to help our neighbouring farmers, for example with hay-making, using a scythe and building a traditional haystack – this will make them more welcoming and willing to talk about buildings they own and their plans.

Cultural visits (with other PEATS groups). These include a visit to the beautiful medieval city of Sibiu and a chance to walk around the Astra Village Museum, with its craft fair and assembled artisans. Another trip is to Hunedoara castle, which has a historical link to Vlad Tepes (the Impaler), who successfully repelled invasions across the Danube by Ottoman (Turkish) soldiers. Irish novelist Bram Stoker, famously used images of Vlad Tepes and other Romanian legends, to create the fictional Count Dracula. We also visit the Sunday flea market in Alba Iulia and get a chance to look around this famous Vauban fortress town, site of the unification of nowadays Romania in 1918.

Because of weather and unknown factors, the order of the programme may change but not
the content

To apply fill in the application form at the top of the page, and email to faye@grampusheritage.co.uk

 

Funding

The EU Erasmus + funding will cover return travel, insurance, accommodation, food,  supervision, airport transfers and internal transport in Romania to site. Participants will have to make sure they have their EHI card and extra money for personal purchases and any excursions.

If you are interested in this placement, then the application form is available to download on the PEATS main page

For past participants feedback, please refer to the Participants reports page.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission

This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.