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«Cârnic Massif, Ro ia Montan, jud Alba Romania Prof Andrew Wilson Prof David Mattingly Michael Dawson FSA MIfA September 2010 with additional ...»

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Statement of


Cârnic Massif, Ro ia

Montan, jud Alba


Prof Andrew Wilson

Prof David Mattingly

Michael Dawson FSA MIfA

September 2010 with

additional summary July


Statement of Significance

Ro ia Montan, C rnic Massif

This Statement of Significance has been written by Professor Andrew Wilson, University of Oxford, Institute of

Archaeology and Professor David Mattingly, of the University of Leicester, School of Archaeology and Ancient History.

The project was managed by Michael Dawson FSA MifA, Director of CgMs Consultancy Ltd. The contents of the report reflect the views of the three authors ©. No part of this report is to be copied in any way without prior written consent.

Every effort is made to provide detailed and accurate information, however, the Universities of Oxford, Leicester and CgMs cannot be held responsible for errors or inaccuracies within this report.

2 MD/12092 Statement of Significance Ro ia Montan, C rnic Massif


Preface Executive Summary 1.0 Introduction 2.0 Statement of Significance 3.0 The Significance of Specific Attributes 4.0 The Significance of Historic Processes 5.0 Bibliography 3 MD/12092 Statement of Significance Ro ia Montan, C rnic Massif


Fig 1 Roman Ro ia Montan Fig 2 The Cetate opencast, seen from the Cârnic Massif Fig 3 Entrances to the ancient mine galleries at G uri Fig 4 The Roman circular mausoleum at T u G uri, in its temporary cover building Fig 5 The Cârnic massif seen from Ro ia Montan Fig 6 The modern village of Corna and, in the background from left to right, waste from the Cetate opencast; Cârnicel; and the Cârnic massif. The proposed mining project would raze much of the Cârnic massif to about the level of the top of the Cetate waste spills, and bury the site of Corna village under the tailings facility to the level of the bottom of the spire of the church on the left, and the base of the church on the right.

Fig 7 T ul Cornei, an early modern header pond for ore-crushing machinery, seen from Piatra Corbului. The Roman necropolis lay just beyond the pond.

Fig 8 Entrances to modern mine galleries in the Jig-V idoaia massif.

Fig 9 Ore-crushing technology - the stamp mills of Rosia Montana and their predecessors:

a)Traditional stamp mill at the old Minvest mining museum of Rosia Montana; b) Woodcut showing a stamp mill, from Georgius Agricola’s De Re Metallica, 1556; c) Roman anvil stone from a stamp mill (Villamontan de la Valduerna, Spain); d) Anvil stone from a traditional stamp mill, Ro ia Montan.

Fig 10 G uri - opencastworking with a deep cut where a vein has been followed from the surface.

Fig 11 Roman mine gallery with trapezoidal cross-section in the Cârnic massif.

Fig 12 Roman trapezoidal gallery in P ru Carpeni, with working marks on the walls and roof showing how the gallery was advanced a few centimetres at a time.

Fig 13 Roman stepped descending gallery in the Cârnic massif.

Fig 14 Superimposed Roman galleries in the Orlea massif. (The bracing timbers are modern.) Fig 15 Cârnic 10 - Roman working chamber Fig 16 Cârnic - Roman exploitation chamber with basins (now flooded) cut in the floor.

Fig 17 P ru Carpeni - chamber for a wooden drainage wheel in the Roman mine network. The wooden bearing block for the wheel axle is visible towards the top of the picture, and Roman wooden shoring towards the bottom.

Fig 18 Shothole for explosive charge in the wall of an early modern mine gallery in the Cârnic massif.

Fig 19 Communist-era transport gallery in the Cârnic massif.

Fig 20 Abandoned extraction machine in the Cetate opencast.

Fig 21 Communist era pillared exploitation chamber in the Cârnic massif.

Fig 22 Itinerary of visit of UK experts

–  –  –

APPENDICES Appendix 1: Itinerary of visit of UK experts Appendix 2: Ro ia Montan and Other Roman Gold Mines Appendix 3: Statements of Significance Appendix 4: Letter of Endorsement from the Institute for Archaeologists

–  –  –

The Statement of Significance for Ro ia Montan area was written (...) in a short time frame of only two months, between August and September 2010. The authors have placed the evidence at Ro ia Montan in its international context. We have also examined the area’s potential, noting other World Heritage Sites as they have developed after inscription in the UNESCO list, to show that Ro ia Montan has the necessary significance and potential to become a World Heritage Site.

The report was re-issued in July 2011 with the addition of an extended Executive Summary. This makes no material change to the report itself. It gathers together the significance statements written for the principal areas of evidence investigated by RMGC and examined during a three-day field visit in August 2011. The summary does, however, emphasise the interrelationship of the evidence which highlights Ro ia Montan ’s unique contribution to world culture. Not only is this region important to history of the Roman Empire and the province of Dacia, but to the development of gold mining in the Austro-Hungarian empire and later still during the repressive years of the later 20th century. Gathering together site-specific significances also emphasises the nature of investigation to date. The report emphasises the significance of taking a landscape based approach to the heritage of the Ro ia Montan region. It also highlights important periods for which the documentation is currently poor or non-existent, for instance, the transitions from pre-Roman Dacia to Roman province, from Roman Dacia to early medieval Transylvania, and later the high medieval and Austro-Hungarian periods.

Explicitly this document supports the protection of this landscape and the conservation and enhancement of its outstanding universal value.

–  –  –

This Statement of Significance, which focuses on the C rnic Massif of Ro ia Montan, concludes that the C rnic Massif constitutes part of a wider cultural landscape of high significance, comparable in magnitude to “outstanding universal value” in the UNESCO criteria for World Heritage status1. The evidence of Roman mining in C rnic is part of the largest, most extensive and most important underground mine complexes within the Roman Empire. It is, in this important respect, unique.

The underground evidence of mining, galleries, adits and technology gains in significance because it is associated with an historic landscape above ground with evidence of processing, settlements, ritual and communities. Further evidence, from epigraphy, wax tablets and closely dated archaeological deposits, enhances Ro ia Montan as one of the world’s outstanding heritage assets.

From the outset the authors had assumed that the Statement of Significance would focus, as has the work of Ro ia Montan Gold Corporation, principally on the Roman evidence. However, the site inspection above and below ground quickly made it clear that Ro ia Montan represents a landscape of probably unparalleled complexity, of great significance for the history of other periods too. In the Corna and Ro ia Montan valleys and on the mountains of C rnic, Cetatae, Carnichel and Jig-V idoaia Roman, medieval, 18th- and 19th-century mining, together with the galleries and installations of the communist period have together created a unique palimpsest of exploitation. Moreover, the pre-Roman Dacian and post-Roman phases of activity have not been studied at all. Even at the current level of understanding it represents a resource of unique significance.

–  –  –

criteria of significance of outstanding universal value (only one of which need to be satisfied to make a site eligible for World Heritage status), the Ro ia Montan

region clearly meets the following four criteria:

–  –  –

Our assessment of the significance of the individual elements of the landscape is as follows, but in considering this it is essential to recognise that the overall significance of this mining landscape as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Allowing the archaeological discharge of any one of these sites would do irreparable damage to the integrity of the mining landscape as a whole.

The authors of this report advocate total preservation in situ and further archaeological and historical investigation of this exceptional landscape. We are aware that there is strong pressure to allow the mining development to proceed, but a decision to permit the destruction of elements of this landscape in favour of gold mining is certain to be controversial and to be strongly challenged. In our opinion the Romanian government and the RMGC will be vulnerable to accusations of cultural vandalism if the mining project goes ahead. Despite a substantial budget having been expended, the currently achieved level of mitigation is completely inadequate to be considered as preservation by record. In particular, we draw attention to the many questions that remain about the location of Roman settlements and the full extent of underground workings and the lack of any detailed record of the other

8 MD/12092Statement of SignificanceRo ia Montan, C rnic Massif

highly significant phases of settlement and mining activity. If mining were to go ahead, we believe a massively increased archaeological budget and expanded archaeological team will be required to document what will be lost. Even then, preservation by record would hardly be an acceptable substitute for the loss of a unique landscape of outstanding world significance.

–  –  –

Unusual for the Roman empire, and unique for the province of Dacia (modern Romania), is the combination of evidence for underground mining exploitation, above-ground processing and related surface habitation, cemeteries, sanctuaries and other remains, which together constitute an ancient mining landscape. Its coherence means it can be understood in a manner rare elsewhere. The importance of this landscape is increased by the comparatively tight dating of the ancient Roman mining works, and particularly by the discoveries of numerous wooden artefacts and mining implements within the galleries. Especially significant are over 30 wooden writing tablets which open a remarkable window on the world of the Alburnus Maior mining community, recording organisational features of the mining operations, loans, wage labour contracts, the sale of slaves, details of ethnic groupings of miners and the dissolution of a burial club or collegium.

There is also an extremely large dossier (in comparison with other Roman mining communities) of stone inscriptions, including many new examples found in situ during recent excavations. These provide exceptional information on the religious preferences, ethnic composition and status of the mining community at Ro ia Montan. Together with the settlement and cemetery data, they help create an extraordinarily rich picture of the life of a mining community in Roman Dacia, whilst the historic landscape retains the potential to reveal pre- and post Roman activity.

Numerous underground elements of the Roman mine galleries are either unique or of exceptional international importance. The trapezoidal cross-section of the Roman galleries is strongly associated with Roman mines in Romania, and may have been introduced from the neighbouring provinces of Upper Moesia (Serbia/Kosovo) or Dalmatia (Bosnia/Croatia). The shape is probably related to ease of movement and particularly transport of ore through the galleries, while maintaining a stable geological profile. The discovery of a wooden water-lifting machine in 1855 in the Roman networks opening off the C t lina Monule ti gallery was of great importance, 2 See Criteria in Section 1.9

–  –  –

but like so many such discoveries in Early Modern mining works was not properly recorded. The discovery of four further water-lifting wheel installations in the P ru Carpeni galleries in 2004-2005, and another in C t lina Monule ti, represents a thoroughly unique opportunity to record such technology under modern excavation conditions.

–  –  –

The underground workings and ore-processing sites of the Roman period are all highly significant. The Roman galleries, exploitation chambers and drainage works are all of exceptional international interest and importance. They should be preserved in situ. The ore processing sites in the Ro ia Montan mining landscape are greatly understudied at present, but are of high international importance and are highly vulnerable to destruction in the current development programme. Given the scale of Roman activity around Ro ia Montan, there is considerable potential for the processing technologies adopted to have been technologically advanced. One possibility is that the ore processing areas could produce evidence for Roman-era water-powered stamping mills (as in some major Spanish mines).

–  –  –

H bad (Roman settlement and religious buildings)5 Highly significant. The H bad settlement comprises the vestigial remains of buildings, which are important to record, but may not merit conservation and presentation. However, the sacred areas of the H bad Br doaia are a different matter, as the buildings there are associated with inscribed altars, which provide important information on the mining community and its religious beliefs, as well as ancient toponyms and information on collegia (guild) organisations. Comparison with the Nanului valley sites suggests that further religious structures and altars may exist in close proximity. It is not certain that the excavations carried out at the H bad sites have fully explored them and the connection between sacred areas and habitations at these sites are still unclear.

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