Protected areas and sites preserved "in situ"
The most significant findings – according to the specialists who conducted the research – which meet the requirements to be preserved in situ (“in their native place, as they were found on the site”) are:
- the Roman funerary premises from Tău Găuri;
- the Roman settlement (including a funerary area and a possible sacred area) from Carpeni Hill;
- ancient mining exploitations from Piatra Corbului area (on the South-Eastern slope of Cârnic);
- a series of archaeological vestiges in the area of the Historical Centre of Roşia Montană, including Cătălina Monuleşti gallery (where a wooden hydraulic system dated in the Roman age was found, in addition to being the site of the 19th century discovery of a significant batch of waxed plates) and the ancient surface exploitation area in the area of Văidoaia.
Through “Alburnus Maior” National Research Program – financed in compliance with the legal provisions by RMGC – the archaeological heritage from Roşia Montană has become much better known and delimited. As a consequence, the List of Historical Monuments has been updated in 2004 by the classification of four new distinct areas as „historical monuments”, respectively:
- Roman vestiges from Alburnus Maior, Carpeni area;
- Roman funerary premises in “Tău Găuri” area;
- “Cătălina-Monuleşti” gallery in the protected area of the local historical centre;
- Roman galleries from Cârnic Massif, “Piatra Corbului” area.
The ground-level archaeological vestiges have been significantly affected by the arrangements related to the historical mining operations: galleries, stockpiles; ore processing equipments – stamp mills, as well as the related industrial infrastructure – pools, roads, adduction canals. They have certainly also been impacted by the permanent inhabitation of Roşia Valley over the last 700 years. Preventive surface archaeological research over the last 6 years has mapped the areas where ancient vestiges were still kept, identifying those areas with archaeological potential which were exhaustively researched.
In conclusion, the archaeological vestiges discovered thus far do not present spectacular attributes, but through their adjustment to the natural environment suggest a series of elements which may serve in reconstructing an overall view on how the site may have looked like in antiquity: necropolises situated on slopes or on plateaus orientated towards the valleys, habitat areas and sacred areas situated up high and possibly being in connection with the mining operation and primary ore processing areas. It should be mentioned that we can still distinguish representative elements for the cultural landscape deriving from the components of the archaeological heritage:
- in the area of Tău Găuri there is a well preserved circular funerary monument;
- in the area of Carpeni hill, two public edifices were studied, which were achieved from stone bound with plaster and equipped with hipocaust installation, a funerary area and very possibly a sacred area, all integrated within a coherently preserved archaeological ensemble;
- in the area of the Historical Centre, there are the majority of galleries where the famous waxed plates were found in the 18th, 19th centuries, the best known gallery being Cătălina-Monuleşti. The largest number of waxed plates was found here, as well as an ancient mining exploitation system, equipped with a draining system, very probably consisting of another hydraulic wheel system. Văidoaia massif is located in the same area, where traces of modern surface mining operations are still visible.