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© Dr.D Gheorghiu

Project Vadastra: 2004 pictures.

Photograph 01.
The Chalcolithic megaron house, 5th millennium B.C. (author: Dr.Dragos Gheorghiu) built in August 2003 (for the construction details see Gheorghiu, D., 2003b, Building a ceramic macro-object: The 2003 Vadastra Project experiments, OPA Vol. 11, No.3, pp. 1-5.) was the first of the buildings intended to form the replica of a prehistoric settlement at Vadastra village, south of Romania. Here in the last five years a series of experiments with prehistoric pyrotechnologies were carried (see Gibson, A., 2002, Prehistoric pottery in Britain and Ireland, Tempus, Charleston; Gheorghiu,D., 2002a, The Vadastra Project: Experiments with traditional technologies, OPA Vol.10, No.1, pp.9-10; Gheorghiu, D., 2002b, Fire and air draught:: Experimenting the Chalcolithic pyroinstruments, in Gheorghiu, D. (ed.), Fire in archaeology, BAR International Series 1089, pp. 83-95; Gheorghiu,D., 2003a, Archaeology and community: News from the Vadastra project, OPA Vol.11, No.2, pp. 1-4.)

Photograph 02.
After plastering all the wooden structure the interior of the house was decorated with similar patterns using red oxides and calcite (author: Corina Sarbu, MA).

Photograph 03.
The exterior of house was decorated in April 2004 with Chalcolithic patterns and using local calcite, similar to the decoration of Vadastra ceramics (author: Corina Sarbu, MA)

Photograph 04.
Among the clay objects built in the August 2004 campaign was a granary for the deposit of cereals inside the settlement (authors: MA students Catalin Oancea and Marius Stroe).

Photograph 05.
The interior of the Chalcolithic megaron painted in April 2004 and partially replastered in August 2004 showing the central posts plastered with clay mixed with dung, the oven (authors: Alexander Chodajev, Bulgaria and Constantin Liceanu, villager Vadastra), a round window and a squat wall.

Photograph 06.
To test how the settlement was defended and how the fodder and domestic animals were protected; a palisade was built to surround two sides of the megaron house (author Dr.Dragos Gheorghiu). Built analogous to the house, the South Eastern Europe Chalcolithic palisades used the foundation trenches and the wattle technique to better fix the structure of the wall.

Photograph 07.
The replastering of the window, August 2004 (design Corina Sarbu, MA, performer student Mihaela Tudorita).

Photograph 08.
The replastering of the main entrance (pattern design Corina Sarbu, MA, performer student Virginia Toma).

Photograph 09.
A detail of the megaron house entrance during the process of replastering with clay mixed with straws and dung, after one year weathering that faded the colors and cracked the decorative slip of the façade.

Photograph 10.
The replastering of the exterior of the megaron house in August 2004. (pattern design Corina Sarbu, MA, performer student Stefania Stroe).

Photograph 11.
The 2004 campaign continued the pyroexperiments with kilns; this time the experiments were focused to analyze the pyrotechnology of the medieval horizontal kilns (author: Szolt Wagner (Hungary), with the help of Peter Veniger, MA conservationist and ceramist, Art Museum Budapest).

Photograph 12-13.
One of the experiments carried in both August and October 2004 campaigns was the firing of the palisade surrounding the settlement, to transform it into a ceramic object and to notice the behavior after firing of a composite material with voids in it fabric (author: Dr.Dragos Gheorghiu). One of the goals of the experiment was to survey the behavior of the built clay object during the process of accidental firing. I choose as scenario the combustion of the fodder deposited inside the palisade, and I filled the corridor between the two walls with straws and split trunks of wood up to 1.50 m. Additionally I covered a third of this surface with a “roof” made of split trunks of acacia, positioned transversally, to form a sort of shed. Fire was initiated at the entrance, extended on all the surface of the fuel, and after 20’ extinguished completely. Even if all the thermal energy was directed upwards and was not absorbed by the walls, the acacia trunks of the sheds were slightly fired.

No traces of the firing were left on the clay surface of the inner surface of the walls, and after two months no change in color of the clay was recorded.
This experiment was repeated with identical results in October 2004, and led to the conclusion that an open architectural structure is difficult to be fired accidentally (for more information see Gheorghiu, 2005, The Chalcolithic palisade – A macro clay object, OPA)

Photograph 14.
A feature of a prehistoric tell settlement: the palisade with a ditch that surround the built nucleus (author: Dr.Dragos Gheorghiu).

Photograph 15.
A stage of the building process of the palisade surrounded by a ditch (author: Dr. Dragos Gheorghiu).

Photograph 16.
This year one of the villagers trained by the Vadastra Project, Mr. Ion Cococi, built a replica of an up-draught Chalcolithic kiln in his courtyard and is now currently producing ceramics, fired in reduced atmosphere.

Photograph 17-18-19.
A second experiment on prehistoric architecture was carried in August 2004 with the construction of a circular wattle and daub dwelling (copying an Early Chalcolithic house from Boian culture, 5th millennium B.C.) with a domed vault and overlapped by a clay anthropomorphic female figurine (authors: Ileana Raducanu and MA student Maria-Magdalena Pop). Both artists tested the aesthetical values of traditional materials. After several hours of firing the vaulted structure collapsed and the fire extinguished in time without transforming into ceramics the walls of the construction (for more information see Gheorghiu, 2005, The Chalcolithic palisade – A macro clay object, OPA).

Photograph 20.
The hole resulted from the extraction of the clay for the megaron house in summer 2003 was used to build a semi-subterranean ovoid house (Boian culture, 5th millennium B.C.) (author: Dr.Dragos Gheorghiu), whose roof made of wood and twigs was plastered with clay and left like this to weathering. This covering lasted successfully to the autumn rains, and the house inspired some urban people to build ecological summer houses in the region.

A perspective on the prehistoric clay objects built in the 2003 and 2004 campaigns in Vadastra: in the near plan a furnace for the smelting of iron and a small furnace (authors: Dr.Roger Doonan, Sheffield University and Dr. Andrew Fulton, Bournemouth University), a small up-draught kiln both for ceramics and metal casting (author: MA student Catalin Oancea),all protected by a wattle and daub wind shield, then in a middle plan a granary (authors: MA students Catalin Oancea and Marius Stroe). In the foreground on the right one can see the megaron house and the semisubterranean oval house (author: Dr.Dragos Gheorghiu), and on the left of the image the palisade and the (partially collapsed) round house (authors: Ileana Raducanu and MA student Maria-Magdalena Pop).

Dragos Gheorghiu , Director of Research, Head of the MA Department, National University of Arts in Bucharest.








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