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Archaeology

Southern Banat and Apuseni Mountains

Southern Banat and Apuseni Mountains

The following map shows the two adjacent eponymous villages Vinca and Starcevo that have already bean mentioned. In about 150 km linear distance, or about 220 km along the river banks of the Danube is the estuary of the Cerna, about 10 and 20 km downstream is the location of the Iron Gates and the remnants of the Trajan`s Bridge. West of the Cerna and the headwaters and tributaries of the Timis are the Apuseni Mountains and south of them are the Banat Mountains, the outskirts of the Carpathian Mountains.

1 Vinca, 2 Starcevo, 3 Pestera cu Oase, 4 Herkulesbad, 5 Iron Gates, 6 Trajan`s Bridge

Pestera cu Oase, literally translated The Cave with Bones, is a system of caves where some of the oldest bones of Homo Sapiens in Europe was found. These remnants are between 37.000 and 42.000 years old, bearing about 5-12% Neanderthal DNA. Therefore, it is regarded as secured that folks are living in this area for a very, very long time.

Pestera cu Oase lies near Steierdorf, nowadays Anina in Caras-Severin County in Romania. Steierdorf, located in a height of about 600 m above sea level, was founded in 1773 when 34 tree harvesters and charcoal burners from Styria, German Steiermark, were established there to secure the demand for wood in the ironworks in nearby Orawitz/ Oravita, about 10 km to the west. Black coal was found in 1790 and mining started in 1792. Another resource found in this area was Oil shale, which was also useful to give off heat after being reprocessed.

Hunters and gatherers living in this region had access to all necessary resources within a radius of not even 100 km. They had access to caves located near thermal springs like those near Herkulesbad/ Baile Herculane and caves next to heating resources like Pestera cu Oase, spending them a warm and comfortable shelter during the colder months in autumn and winter. As soon as the days got longer and the sun was able to warmth up the earth again, the available food resources became easier to hunt and gather in the rivers, streams, ponds and swamps of the adjacent plains in the West of the sheltering mountain ranges and therefore, folks moved to the river banks of the waters meandering through the endless flatland of the Great Hungarian Plains.

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