Using Satellite Images to Identify a Possible Medieval Road in the Vinga High Plains (Banat, România)

International Aerial Archaeology Conference – AARG 2010, Bucharest, Romania, 15 – 18 September 2010

Dorel Micle, Leonard Dorogostaisky, Liviu Măruia, Marcel Torok, Adrian Cîntar, and Lavinia Bolcu

“Our study started with an analyze of satellite images provided by Google Earth on a South – North sector between Beregsău Brook (Nerad, Bega Veche) which flows North of Timişoara and Mureş River as we noticed the trajectory of a possible earth road, not yet archaeologically investigated, and also the presence of two square brick fortifications, quite similar in shape and defensive system, which chronologically fit between the XVIth and the XVIIth century (based on the ceramic materials gathered). One of the fortifications was identified West of the present day village Frumuşeni, Arad County, on the South shore of Mureş River, and the second one is East of present day locality Sânandrei, Timiş County, on the North shore of Nerad Brook.

“Our team’s goal was to certify the presence of this medieval road by studying the available documentary material (written medieval sources, military topographical maps, orthophotograms and satellite images, old historic maps, etc.) but also by field probation through systematic surveys and punctual geophysical prospections, as we tried to identify the route and structure of this road.

“Placed in a larger landscape archaeology research, this study can bring multiple information related to economical, political and military context in which the medieval road functioned, and also the possible connection between the two fortifications mentioned above. Also, a medieval rural habitat sectioned by the trajectory of this road analysis can bring out characteristic elements of a stabile and controlled transportation route (post stations, etc.) which can improve historical data related to this period.

“Our procedure is a technical one, which is based on new documentation means and methods that contribute to the improving of knowledge related to a less studied period – the one regarding the Turkish occupation of the Banat region – through highlighting elements of military architecture (fortifications) and infrastructure (roads).”

(via @AntArch)