Ier Valley Project

With its dense occupation and the good preservation of its sites the Ier valley in north-western Romania offers ideal conditions for the study of long-term trends in Bronze Age land-use and settlement organisation. To this end collaborative archaeological fieldwork is carried out on Bronze Age settlements of the Ier valley by the Muzeul Judetean Satu Mare and the Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Universität zu Köln. In five survey campaigns, so far, the fortified settlements of the Late Bronze Age Gáva culture at C?ua?-Sighetiu (Sziget in Hungarian) and at Andrid-Corlat (Korlát in Hungarian) as well as tell sites of the local Early to Middle Bronze Age were examined. All these sites were only superficially known from previous archaeological surveys. The current archaeological research is based mainly on aerial photography, topographical measurements and magnetometer survey that provide important data both on the intra- and off-site level. By these methods new information on the fortification systems of the sites as well as on the extent and the intensity of habitation in the settlements is obtained. Based on such intensive survey techniques the joint project on will seek to develop a better understanding of the dynamics and the development of Bronze Age settlement patterns in Ier valley by extending the intensive survey programme to neighbouring sites of this microregion including their wider ‘off-site’ surroundings. An increasingly closer coverage of the Early to Middle and Late Bronze Age sites of the Ier valley micro-region is aimed at. This will also involve targeted excavations to further our understanding of some of the points raised above with regard to both the internal organisation of individual sites and their chronological position vis-à-vis each other.