Daniela ISTRATE | Annamaria DIANA
(“VasileParvan”Institute of Archaeology, Bucharest, Romania)

Keywords: medieval and modern burials; urban archaeology; human osteoarchaeology; German colonists in East Europe

Between 2012 and 2013, extensive rescue excavations were conducted in the area overlying the old parish cemetery of Brașov, in Transylvania (Romania). Braşov was a flourishing urban centre founded in the 12th century by Central European colonists, under the protection of the Hungarian King. Over the following centuries, the settlement became a crossroad for travellers, merchants and diplomats from all over Europe and the Middle East, as witnessed by documentary sources. Braşov was in fact a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural city, where communities of German, Romanian, Hungarian and Jewish ancestry lived.
The recent excavations unearthed a complex and challenging stratigraphy formed by centuries of uninterrupted human habitat, and an archaeological site of inestimable value for the reconstitution of the urban life in medieval and modern Eastern Europe. Dwellings dating back to the 12th century were overlapped by the structure of a Premonstratensian monastery and a Cistercian abbey. Around the year 1200 the area was occupied by the parish churchand its burial site, which would have been used as the urban community’s main cemetery until the 18th century. The investigation of the burial ground revealed over 1,400 tombs.
Our paper will focus on the analysis of the cemetery by means of an interdisciplinary approach. The study and interpretation of burial practices, grave goods and funerary topography, cross-referenced with the demographic and pathological profile reconstructed from human skeletal remains, are shedding new light on this population’s history. The paper will pay particular attention to the interpretation of the burial context in a broader historical framework, emphasising the implications for understanding the process of urbanisation in this area.

Relevance conference | Relevance session:
The paper will discuss the main features of the burial ground in a broader historical, archaeological and anthropological context.

Archaeological and human osteoarchaeological investigations allow a unique insight into the living conditions of a medieval diaspora from East Europe.

MARCUISTRATE D. (ed.) 2015:
Redescoperiretrecutului medieval al Braşovului – Unearthing the medieval past of Braşov, Mega Publishing House, Cluj Napoca.
MARCUISTRATE, D./ CONSTANTINESCU, M./ SOFICARU, A. (2015): The medieval cemetery of Sibiu (Hermannstadt) – Huet Square, Dr. Faustus Verlag, Tübingen.