GLASS BEADS DISCOVERED IN THE SARMATIAN CEMETERIES FROM SOUTH-WESTERN ROMANIA


Keywords: glass beads, Sarmatians, cemeteries, Roman-provincial workshops, Western Plain of Romania, Banat region.

Abstract

This paper analyses the glass beads discovered in the cemeteries attributed to the Sarmatian culture from South-Western Romania, especially Foeni-Cimi­tirul Ortodox (Timiş county), Giarmata — Sit 10 (Timiş county) and Hunedoara Timişană (Arad county). Beads are the most numerous objects identified among grave goods (over 14000 specimens), being present in 43 cemeteries dated between the 2nd and the 4th century AD. Nevertheless, their number differs from one burial ground to another, according to the peculiarities of each site, distance from the limes, quantity of Roman imports within the burials, resources available to respective communities, the chronological period to which the burial / cemetery belongs to or the number of female graves in each cemetery.

Typologically, we identified 9 main types of monochrome glass beads and 8 types of polychrome glass beads (each with variations, different colours and forms). The studies discussing beads discovered in the European Barbaricum use the classification suggested by M. Tempelmann-Mączyńska (for the central and north European Barbaricum) and E. M. Alekseeva (for the north of the Black Sea). Unfortunately, these typologies may not be adopted in our case, since beads discovered in Sarmatian funerary sites and features from the Great Hungarian Plain (and implicitly today’s western Romania) are typological series different than those from the centre, north and east of Europe. Furthermore, the workshops making and then distributing the beads here are known (e. g. Tibiscum in the south-eastern part of Roman Dacia). Therefore, we drafted our own typology, adapted to the archaeological realities of the area.

Most often, beads were sewn onto apparel (the same fashion is documented in the most part of the Great Hungarian Plain after the Marcomannic wars). We note that beads were very important dress objects in the female costume. They did not have only an aesthetic value, but also marked the status of women in society, either adolescent or adult. Furthermore, graves with numerous beads were also richly furnished, thus providing important clues for identifying the Sarmatian female elite from the area south the Lower Mureş river. Thus, the beads are highly important for discussions concerning the fashion of the time, trading relations and Roman-Barbarian contacts and connections.

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Published
2020-07-25
How to Cite
Grumeza, L., & BвrcăV. (2020). GLASS BEADS DISCOVERED IN THE SARMATIAN CEMETERIES FROM SOUTH-WESTERN ROMANIA . Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 36(3), 402-414. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2020.03.28