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Aerial view of the excavations of the huge Bronze Age citadel found in Romania.

Huge Bronze Age Citadel, Three Times Larger than Troy, Found in Romania

Archaeologists had no idea of the immensity of the project they had begun when they started excavating an archaeological site in Sântana, Arad county, Romania almost a decade ago. They’ve now realized that they are dealing with the huge remains of a Bronze Age citadel. Specifically, it is a fortress that was about three times larger than the famed city of Troy.

Archaeology News Network reports that the joint team of Romanian and German archaeologists first began work at the site of the Romanian citadel in 2009. There was a bit of a lapse in their exploration of the site for a time, but work intensified again a couple of years ago. Since then, they’ve managed to identify the remains of a 3,400 year old citadel that covers 89 hectares (219 acres).

The 3,400 year old citadel covers 89 hectares. (Aradon Romania)

The 3,400 year old citadel covers 89 hectares. ( Aradon Romania )

Head of the Romanian section of the researchers, Florin Gogâltan, of the Institute of Archeology and History of Art of the Romanian Academy in Cluj-Napoca, compared the two archaeological sites:

“Troy had an area of 29 hectares, the Citadel in Sântana covers 89 hectares. The buildings of Troy were made of stone. At Sântana, the buildings were made of clay and wood, a sign that civilization was more developed and adapted to the building materials it had. We are facing one of the biggest and impressive fortresses in Europe.”

For centuries, the city of Troy (founded in 3000 BC and abandoned in 500 AD), was believed to be nothing more than a Homeric myth. During the 19th century, however, the German archaeologist named Heinrich Schliemann set out to find the legendary city besieged by the Greeks. He succeeded in finding the famed city in Hisarlik, Turkey.

To date, the Romanian-German team has excavated 55 hectares (135 acres) of the “Old Citadel” (Cetatea Veche) in Arad county. Gogâltan said, that “Following these measurements, we found something that scared us: a huge palace, with a length of 100 meters and width of 40 meters. We want to continue digging and, if possible, we want to make this citadel great again, just as it was over 3,000 years ago.”

Covered excavations at the site. (ibna)

Covered excavations at the site. ( ibna)

Their work so far suggests that the Sântana Old Citadel was built in the 14th century BC during the Bronze Age. State of the art technology has also been applied to map the fortress. Rüdiger Krause, professor at the Goethe University in Frankfurt and co-leader of the excavations, said, “The citadel in Sântana is one of the largest fortifications built during the mentioned period. Our purpose is to find out why this fortification was made, why this construction was needed.”

Gogâltan said work will continue at the site of the Bronze Age citadel next year thanks to the German archaeologists, who have helped with their manpower, monetarily, and by providing the specialized equipment needed to make a thorough exploration. Krause said that it has been “proposed to do research at Sântana for a period of three years.”

Work will continue at the site of the Bronze Age citadel next year. (Aradon Romania)

Work will continue at the site of the Bronze Age citadel next year. ( Aradon Romania )

The Vice-President of the Arad County Council and Mayor of Sântana, Claudia Boghicevici, told the media at a press conference that the authorities will also provide support for the archaeologists in this project. She also discussed future possibilities, stating, “Beyond local pride, this fortress can be a tourist symbol of the area. We really want to introduce this archaeological site into the master plan, to create a tourist pole in Sântana.”

Images of artifacts found at the Bronze Age citadel in Romania. (Consiliul Judetean Arad)

Images of artifacts found at the Bronze Age citadel in Romania. ( Consiliul Judetean Arad )

Top Image: Aerial view of the excavations of the huge Bronze Age citadel found in Romania. Source: Florin Gogaltan

By Alicia McDermott

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