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ISSN 0255-6812


Redactor ef: Dr. Dragomir Popovici

Tehnoredactare, prelucrare imagine: Adela Bltc, Cristina Joia

Coperta: Dan Mrgrit

Colectivul de redacie:
Dr. George Trohani
Dr. Liviu Petculescu
Dr. Anca Punescu
Prof. Dr. Lietta De Salvo

Secretar de redacie:
Dr. Adela Bltc

Coperta: Brri dacice (MNIR). Coperta I: nr. 11; Coperta IV: nr. 6.

Aceast publicaie poate fi consultat i on-line la adresa

Volum editat de Muzeul Naional de Istorie a Romniei

Calea Victoriei nr. 12, Bucureti, 003246, Romnia

Printed in Romania
Editura Cetatea de Scaun,, email

ISSN 0255-6812

Eugen Teodor, Anca Punescu, Ernest Oberlnder-Trnoveanu, Mihai 9

Tomescu, Spturi de salvare la hanul Constantin Vod (1996)
Dejan Radievi, Vojislav orevi, Jelena orevi, Medieval Settlement and 79
Necropolis at Najeva Ciglana Site in Panevo (Southwestern Banat): Excavations in
2003 and 2004


Robert Kuhn, Prunk-Schminkpaletten aus der Formativen Phase Altgyptens. Neue 125
berlegungen zur Einteilung und Deutung Einer Fundkategorie
Silviu Oa, Un nou cercel descoperit la Oraul de Floci (comuna Giurgeni, judeul 149
George Trohani, Cteva bunuri arheologice de valoare excepional pentru 159
cunoaterea civilizaiei geto-dacice recuperate recent. Expertize arheologice
George Trohani, O recent achiziie a Muzeului Naional de Istorie a Romniei: un 187
vas de tip phiala


Mirjam Mahn, Exotische Wildtiere im 1. Jt. V. Chr. im Mediterranen Raum und 195
Irland im Archologischen Befund
Adrian Blescu, Valentin Radu, Exploatarea animalelor din staiunea Sntana 219
de Mure de la Negrileti (judeul Galai)


George Trohani, Din nsemnrile profesorului Gheorghe Cantacuzino (19001977) 233


Sorin Oan-Marghitu, An Archaeology of the Contemporary Past: Excavations in 259

the Grozveti Park, Bucharest


ALEXANDRU MADGEARU, Istoria militar a Daciei post-romane (275614), 295

Trgovite: Cetatea de Scaun, 2011 (Eugen S. Teodor)
FLORIN TOPOLEANU, Lmpile antice din coleciile Muzeului Judeean de Istorie i 301
arheologie Prahova Ploieti, 264 p., XXII pl., Editura Oscar Print, Bucureti, 2012
(Crian Mueeanu)


COSTACHI BUZDUGAN (19322011) 305

ALEXANDRU OANCEA (19462012) 307
Cercetri arheologice, XVIIIXIX, Bucureti, 20112012, p. 259291




Articolul prezint rezultatele spturilor arheologice preventive din Bucureti Parcul Grozveti
desfurate n 2005 i 2007. Parcul a fost amenajat pe o movil format prin depunerea n anii 1980 de
resturi de materiale de construcii, pmnt, deeuri i diferite obiecte. Este discutat raportul dintre
discursurile modernitii care au structurat peisajul urban de-a lungul timpului i discursul arheologic.
Arheologia trecutului apropiat construiete durata timpului prin imaginile dinamice ale unui prezent
amestec de diferite timpuri, materialiti cu biografii i vrste diferite, cu distrugeri i refaceri. Se refer la
modul n care memoria este manipulat prin producerea spaiului i dezvluie starea nud a modernitii,
de proiect venic nefinalizat. Arheologia spune o poveste a diferitelor clase-obiect, a cror istorie a fost
scris ntotdeauna de altcineva.

CUVINTE CHEIE: arheologia trecutului apropiat, Bucureti, funcionalism, comunism, ideologie.

KEY WORDS: archaeology of the contemporary past, Bucharest, functionalism, communism, ideology.

We are obstinately looking for forecourt (Pl. 5/1) one would never know
material traces of 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 years that this is in fact an artificial hill, a lawn-
ago. This high archaeological spirit should covered waste dump. In 2005 and 2007,
watch also certain more immediate actions. when a team of the National Museum of
The past of yesterday is also past, hardly Romanian History conducted here
past present and continuity; by destroying preventive excavations, the landscape (Pl.
its materiality we are moving it into 6), fragmented by a few paved paths and a
prehistory.1 hardly visible flowerbed among the tall
grass, was a contradictory one, bearing the
BUCHARESTVASILE MILEA BOULEVARD vague aspect of a park where the image of a
NO. 5D, 5E AND 5F (GROZVETI PARK) clean and pleasant looking lawn-covered
area met vacant land, trees surrounded at
At this address (between an OMV times by weeds and garbage dumps. We
gas station, a fire station, the fence of the took into consideration the fact that in the
Cotroceni Water Plant and the pedestrian immediate vicinity there is the Cotroceni
underpass connecting the Politehnica metro complex, built at the end of the 17th
station to the buildings of the Polytechnic century 2 . Also, the rescue excavations 3
University) the Grozveti Park is still to be conducted around the complex, as well as
found the only green area to break the on the Grozveti Hill (the land on which
monotony of the rows of buildings erected the Polytechnic Institute buildings were
during communism and after December erected) and at Cotroceni-Leu, Grozveti
1989. It was built on a land which from the Road, the Grozveti pumping station (near
boulevard looks like a hill brow (Pl. 5/2), a the power plant), have documented several
part of a prolongation raised from the tall
right terrace of the Dmbovia river at the
border between the river meadow and the Ionescu 1902, 32173; Iorga 1939, 99; Stoicescu
Grozveti and Cotroceni hills. When 1961, 4750, 188192; Cantacuzino 1968; Ciho et
alii 1993, 22; Marsillac 1999, 153154; tefnescu,
looking at the hill slope from the gas station Lazr 2004.
Panait 1969; tefnescu 1981; Ciho et alii 1993, 15;
Poll, Mnucu-Adameteanu 1997, 25; tefnescu,
Sorescu 1985, 156157. Lazr 2004; Hanganu, Negru 2005.
Sorin Oan-Marghitu

findings dating from the Neolithic, Bronze military and industrial images5, and homes
Age, the 9th11th and 16th19th centuries. grouped around the Royal Palace, were
completed during the communist period by
GROZVETICOTROCENI: THE apartment buildings erected on the Iuliu
MATERIALITY OF TIME Maniu Boulevard (formerly the Armata
Poporului Boulevard) and by an academic
The recently inaugurated Basarab touch, emphasized in its post-1989 private
Overpass and the two metro stations (privatized) version.
(Politehnica and Grozveti) provide an The new buildings (Ayash Center,
organic connection with the rest of the city, Global Business Center, the Ecological
but at the same time also consecrate the University, the Artifex University, the
transit feature of the area. The pace of the OMV gas station) blend the ages of the
city hides the natural configuration, as the other buildings into an old time which,
previously firm limit between the plateau, from the point of view of peoples
the meadow and the river is blurred by the biographies, can be attributed to the
smooth slopes of the embankments of the communist period. In fact, many buildings
two roads: the Vasile Milea Boulevard and represent in this area the very beginning of
the Grozveti Road. Together with the the modernization of Bucharest during the
Iuliu Maniu Boulevard (on the Cotroceni late 19th century and early 20th century, and
plateau) and the Independenei Causeway their own biography is marked by
(on the bank of the river Dmbovia), they reconstructions, consolidations, additions:
are the main elements structuring the urban the buildings and tanks of the water plant6,
texture. Especially around the Dmbovia the hydraulic power plant (CET
river, towards the Polytechnic University, Grozveti) 7 , the Pirotehnia Armatei/
they align tall buildings of metal and glass, Military Pyrotechnics (concealed under the
a stylistic mark of the post-Revolution current name PUMAC) 8 . Also, the
period. Beyond this front, through a few Dmbovia riverbed was systematized and
side streets (Plt. Ion Topor, Lt. tefan regularized at the end of the 19th century9 at
Marinescu, Economu Atanase Stoicescu), the same time as the construction of the two
one enters an entirely different area, a roads with trees on each side and with
mixture of houses and villas hidden and sewerage10. The area is also connected to
overwhelmed by the new buildings. Several the beginnings of the electric tram in
periods of time merge within the same area. Bucharest and to the building of the first
boulevards11. A great part of the biography
Time is immaterial only in of the Elena Doamna Asylum (established
appearance. On the contrary, both time and in 1862)12 and of the Botanical Garden (set
space are made of a solid matter on which up in 1887)13, took place around the tefan
every passage leaves traces and marks. The
vaults of time are fringed by bushes on 5
Ionescu 1902; Popescu-Lumin 2007, 150153;
which pieces of our days and our youth are Chelcea 2008, 103104, 176190.
left hanging.4 6
Ionescu 1969, 89; Trn 1997; Pnoiu 2011, 140
Ionescu 1902, 390391; Georgescu et alii 1965,
Within historical and archaeological 274, 299; Giurescu 1979, 139; Silvestru 1997, 147;
writings there is an aspiration to seek Dam 2007, 213214, 294.
sequences of static, photographic images of Ionescu 1902, 311323; Marsillac 1999, 256257;
the past, which are characteristic for the Chelcea 2008, 189.
Caranfil et alii 1936, 197203; Pnoiu 2011, 130
ambience of certain periods of time a 139; Lascu 2011, 1922.
narration unfolding over linear time about 10
Licherdopol 1889, 143.
standstills frozen in the distance. The 11
Lascu 2011, 2330, 138140.
church of Crmidarii de Sus, a trace of the 12
Slavici 1884; Bor 1932; Harasim 1992, 168;
19th century neighbourhood, together with Marsillac 1999, 253255; Dam 2007, 403404.
Ionescu 1902, 191195, 398424; Giurescu 1966,
397; Toma 2001, 136; Popescu-Lumin 2007, 359
Voronca 1973, 71. 362; Pnoiu 2011, 164165.

An Archaeology of the Contemporary Past: Excavations in the Grozveti Park, Bucharest

Gheorghiu Academy, the APACA factory Donici, commander of the first engineering
and the communist apartment buildings. battalion between 18591862, refers to the
During the long communist period, the now lost military significance of the area.
Cotroceni Palace was given various The palace built by Constantin erban in
functions, which erased from many 1680, the Ypsilantiss pavilion, built in
peoples memory the previous significance 1780, and part of the fortification walls of
connecting it to the royal family. With the the Cotroceni Palace were demolished
exception of the Vasile Milea Boulevard between 18931896 to build the new palace
(built in 1986 as an extension of the former designed by architect Paul Gottereau 16 . In
Ho Chi Minh Boulevard to the Grozveti the same location, the church of the
Bridge), the other access roads to the area Cotroceni Monastery, founded at the end of
were built during the same modernization the 17th century and demolished in 1984,
period: the Iuliu Maniu Boulevard was rebuilt in 2004. The landscape is
(formerly Armata Poporului, formerly I.G. permanently undergoing change, making it
Duca, formerly Bolintin Road), the impossible to pinpoint a still instance, a
Cotroceni Road14, the Grozveti Road, and frozen image of specific moments. Urban
the Geniului Boulevard. At present, they space homogenizes and manipulates times,
align new buildings, of standardized blends the biographies of places into a
monumentality that refuses attention, and present time of functionality and peoples
buildings belonging to a homogenized old subjective time, vaguely oriented towards
time: commercial billboard support, the future. The archaeology of
sometimes democratically assigned to be contemporary past builds the length and
demolished or repurposed. The archaeology depth of time through dynamic images of a
of the contemporary past dismantles the present time where various times meet
mechanism by which memory is materialities of different biographies and
manipulated through the production of ages, with their destructions and rebuilds17.
building, which, from the edge of the
plateau, dominates the area towards the A few published texts and a few
Dmbovia river, several names of illustrated sherds represent the prehistoric
companies were displayed successively past (Neolithic and Bronze Age) of various
from 2005 to the present moment: Connex, places in the area: the Military
Vodafone, IBM. In the vicinity, on the Pyrotechnics 18 , the Cotroceni Church and
plateau, through the tall weeds growing on Palace area 19 , behind the Electrical
the PUMAC factory premises, one can find Machines Plant 20 and on the Grozveti
scattered around pieces of the brick and Hill21. The names of these sites only enrich
mortar walls of the Military Pyrotechnics the catalogues of finds of cultures
building, erected in 1873 and recently monographs 22 ; on a map, they acquire a
demolished, as well as the tile flooring of a strange materiality, as illusory nodes of a
former slot machine pub opened after 1989. vague network of sites in the Bucharest
On the other side of the Iuliu Maniu sector of the Dmbovia river. The Dridu
Boulevard, the buildings of the Faculty of ceramics from an early medieval settlement
Electronics, Telecommunications and on the Grozveti Hill were only useful for
Information Technology (the former tefan dating it to the 9th11th centuries. This
Gheorghiu Academy building) were erected
in 1975 on the spot where the headquarters 16
Ionescu 1902, 174195; Dam 2007, 403404.
of a military engineering unit used to be 17
On the relationship between archaeology and
during the interwar period15. The monument memory, see Olivier 2008.
in front of the faculty, dedicated to Panait Rosetti 1929, 7.
Ciho et alii 1993, 1415.
Panait 2005, 250.
14 21
Popescu-Lumin 2007, 149150. Panait 1969, 3639; tefnescu 1981, 275278.
15 22
Stoica et alii 1999, 148, 183. Schuster 1997, 176 nr. 2728; Leahu 2003, 27.

Sorin Oan-Marghitu

discourse style translates social practices of GROZVETI, COTROCENI, LUPETI: AN

the past the action of digging pits, OBJECT-CLASS
depositing items that have concluded their
biographies, particular moments of the On what is nowadays the territory of
biography of constructions, the materiality Bucharest, among other villages23, medieval
of the long duration of debris and ruins documents also mentioned, starting with the
into the scientific time, linear and 15th16th centuries, Grozveti, Cotroceni,
segmented, tiered, of the sequence of and Lupeti 24 . The Cotroceni estate was
various ages, cultures, stages: Neolithic, described as follows in a charter issued in
Glina, Tei, Dridu. This time can be 1660 by the ruler Gheorghe Ghica, granting
compressed, if necessary, to give a meaning the estate to erban Cantacuzino for his
to historical scenarios of interpretation of services:
the past, or expanded in order for the
various layers defined by archaeologists the whole village with all its land
to acquire chronological relevance. and all its income, from the field and the
forest and the river and the village
THE GROZVETI PARK: RESEARCH households, of everywhere, as much as it
METHODS may amount to, and with as many people as
dwell in this village, and with the vineyards
In 2005, before beginning the and the mills and the orchards.25
excavation, surface research established
that the park paths were probably cast in Two decades later, the ruler erban
1989 (Pl. 6). None of the found materials Cantacuzino donated the estate to the
were older than contemporary. Considering Cotroceni monastery:
the results of the first prospections and the
geoelectric measurements (see Annex) the whole village with all its land
conducted in the Western side of the park and all its income, from the field and the
we used a backhoe to excavate 29 trenches forest and the Dmbovia river, with its
(Pl. 1); their location, density, orientation millruns and the mills on the river, and with
and size depended on the land the vineyards, orchards and the village
configuration, the routes of the paths, the households, of everywhere and throughout
presence and density of groups of trees the land, by the old borders and
(many of which were removed during our landmarks.26
research by Public Domain Administration
workers, to be relocated to a new residential In 1672, erban Cantacuzino bought
district). The excavated depth (3.54 m) from Ianaki Logoftul the part of the estate
depended on the technical limitations of the at Lower Cotroceni, located immediately to
machinery. Subsequently we also took into the East of our research area, the field, the
consideration the fact that the walls of the forest with millruns and a broken mill and
soundings excavated to that depth collapsed the orchards and vineyards that belonged to
due to the instability of the filling. the village 27 , and later donated it to the
Information was recorded by notes in the Cotroceni Monastery.
field journal and by digital photography of
the soundings and their profiles. We also
photographed on site the items found in
various trenches. Giurescu 1966, 255259; Panait 1978, 170;
Giurescu 1979, 209214; Panait, tefnescu 1981;
Ghinea 1992; Panait 2005.
Ionescu 1902; Giurescu 1966, 255; 255 fig. 174;
Panait 1969, 3439; Giurescu 1979, 210; Ciho et alii
1993, 13; Istoria Cotrocenilor 2001; Panait 2005,
247; Velescu 2007.
Istoria Cotrocenilor 2001, 18.
Istoria Cotrocenilor 2001, 28.
Ionescu 1902, 14.

An Archaeology of the Contemporary Past: Excavations in the Grozveti Park, Bucharest

The village documented on the underground architecture of pit-dwellings

Grozveti Hill by the 19661970 rescue and ovens, of grains stored in pits, of the
excavations included several pit-dwellings practice of discarding food waste and
and bread baking ovens scattered around disused vessels in abandoned pit-dwellings,
a cemetery of which 12 graves were of incorporating the world of the dead into
investigated28. Approximately 300 m away, domestic life. [L]es classes domines ne
towards the crest of the hill, there were parlent pas, elles sont parles33: there is an
other pit-dwellings and another cemetery. It ethical side to archaeology when it speaks
was hypothesized that at a certain moment of object classes whose history has
during the 16th century the village moved always been written by others.
up, on the high terrace, due to repeated
floods of the Dmbovia river 29 . Grain COTROCENIGROZVETI: THE EYELASH OF
storage pits were found in the vicinity of BUCHAREST
the Culture House on Grozveti Road 30 .
Also, rescue excavations conducted in the The orchards, vineyards and mills
1960s on the Eastern side of the Spirii Hill mentioned in medieval documents also
(Dealul Spirii) provided the fragmented depict the landscape of the Cotroceni-
image of a village (identified as Lupeti) Grozveti area in the 18th century. To these
from the 14th16th century, of which only touches we must add the Vlsia Forest, in
one pit-dwelling was researched; its filling the middle of which Constantin erban
revealed animal bones and pottery built between 16791681 the Cotroceni
fragments. A small group of seven Monastery with its church, royal houses,
inhumation graves and a mass grave abbots houses, monks cells and other
found on the Western side of the headland annexes34. The first Bucharest maps dating
probably belonged to this village. There is from the end of the century35 recorded the
also mention of a few grain storage pits monasterys position outside the city, on
outside the cemetery31. the terrace plateau on the right bank of the
Knowledge of the medieval past of Dmbovia river, while the river meadow
Cotroceni and Grozveti is mediated by was occupied by gardens. In 1759, for
texts, charters by which estates were Kesarie Dapontes the Cotroceni Monastery
granted, confirmed, purchased or recovered. was an element of an anthropomorphic
Documents mirror facts but also create their image of Bucharest: Bucharest has the
own reality, constructing a landscape that very famous monasteries of Mihai Vod
was important for the estates consisting of and Radu Vod for eyebrows, the Cotroceni
villages, people, orchards, vineyards, rivers, and Vcreti for eyelashes and for a nose
forests, mills. Historians have repeated in Plumbuita, the famous cloister of the
their work the same discourse of documents, Xeropotam36. Cotroceni as an eyelash of
and the only debated process was that of Bucharest suggests the ambiguity of the
enslaving free villages and dividing up perception of this area, a monastery in a
common property32. Archaeology does more natural environment still preserved during
than just complement written information, the 19th century, as revealed by prints and
despite the fact that the excavation reports descriptions dating from that time37 , half
were limited to identifying on site villages an hour away from the city, but at the same
mentioned in medieval documents and the time an important religious and political
found items were only important as regards
their function in establishing a chronology. 33
Bourdieu 1977, 4.
Archaeology tells the story of the 34
Ionescu 1902, 3536; Iorga 1939, 99; Stoicescu
1961, 188192; Cantacuzino 1968; Ciho et alii 1993,
Panait 1967, 13; Panait 1969, 3639; Panait 1992b, 22; tefnescu, Lazr 2004.
79; tefnescu, Lazr 2004, 16; Panait 2005. Florescu 1935; Stoica et alii 1999, 119; 131;
tefnescu 1981, 275278. Pnoiu 2011, 2627.
30 36
tefnescu, Lazr 2004, 14; Panait 2005. Ionnescu-Gion 1899, 82.
31 37
Panait 1969, 3436. Macovei, Varga 1993; Ciho et alii 1993, 36;
Velescu 2007. Harasim 1993, 21; Marsillac 1999, 155157.

Sorin Oan-Marghitu

center connected to Bucharest. The image mills that had been deactivated in 1865 43
of Bucharest itself is marked by this (together with all the rest, with the dams
ambiguity of the relationship between the and bridges on the Dmbovia) in order to
very city, developed in the Dmbovia river prevent floods, a measure that preceded the
meadow, on the left bank, around the Royal correction of the river route 44 . The name
Court, bordered to the West, at the Crmidarii de Sus replaced the historical
beginning of the 18th century, by the toponym Lupeti and was later extended
Lupeti village on the Spirii Hill38 and the (partly due to a document dated 1814,
hills on the right river bank (Mihai Vod, which ruled that all brickmakers
Mitropoliei, Radu Vod, Lupetilor, crmidari should move outside
Cotrocenilor), a church erected on each of Bucharest) to cover the Lower Cotroceni
them. On these hills, wealthy city dwellers and the Grozveti 45 . The memory of this
and monasteries administered their orchards, suburb is nowadays preserved by the name
vineyards, crops. Monasteries also owned of a church near the Grozveti Bridge
the mills on the Dmbovia river 39 . The built in 1805 and rebuilt several times 46
river, in the northern Grozveti plain, as and by the name of a street on the Western
described by Dr. Constantin Caraca in a border of the premises of the faculties area
paper written between 18201828 and in the Politehnica complex 47 . Grozveti
printed in Greek in 1830, provides an and Cotroceni are thus an ambiguous
enjoyable view when it gushes roaring suburb as regards the function of various
towards the mills 40 . The metaphor of locations, an area that juxtaposed during the
Cotroceni as Bucharests eyelash is a part modern age the rulers (and later on the
of the idealised image of a natural city, kings) residence, warehouses, factories, an
designating in fact a sort of functional asylum, military headquarters, and a
spatialization and, moreover, a certain botanical garden. The same area hosted the
lifestyle characteristic to wealthy vegetable gardens mentioned in passing in
townspeople. 1861 by Nicolae Filimon 48 and the
solemnity of military ceremonies during
COTROCENIGROZVETI: THE which new flags were distributed, as well as
CONCENTRIC CIRCLES METAPHOR the celebration of Prince Cuzas name day
in 1863, in the proximity of suburban
At the beginning of the 20th century, houses and vineyard plots 49 . In 1907,
F. Dam noted that this lifestyle had Grozveti, the suburb that the painter
disappeared about three decades before, at tefan Luchian moved to, had the
the same time as the vineyards that covered appearance of a village:
the Cotroceni Hill all the way to Vitan,
through the Spirii Hill and through Filaret41. Ropes and bridles hanging outside,
Also, the meadow gradually turned its the crate of coarse salt by the door, and
natural scenery, dominated by the especially the white lime wood pole
Dmbovia river and its mills, by spring and standing in front of the Yellow Inn topped
autumn floods when water would often with a handful of curled wood shavings
reach the Cotroceni Hill42, into a suburban
landscape. Some of the still visible ruins
belonged, according to G.M. Ionescu, to 43
Ionescu 1902, 363; see also Popescu-Lumin 2007,
Ionnescu-Gion 1899, 241, 301306; Georgescu et
alii 1965, 299; Duu 1967; Dam 2007, 209210.
Ionescu 1902, 107, pl. II; Mueeanu 1935, 5, 11
Panait 1992a, 47. 14; Popescu-Lumin 2007, 148, 156; Giurescu 1966,
Ionnescu-Gion 1899, 241, 301306; Giurescu 258; 1979, 213.
1973, 144145; Panait 1992a, 49. Ionescu 1902, 552557; Mueeanu 1935;
erban 1978, 244. Stoicescu 1961, 181182; Giurescu 1979, 213.
41 47
Dam 2007, 91. Stoica et alii 1999, 197.
42 48
Mueeanu 1935, 1113; Bilciurescu 2003, 41; Filimon 2005, 1054.
Dam 2007, 205. Cotroceni 1867.

An Archaeology of the Contemporary Past: Excavations in the Grozveti Park, Bucharest

ruffled by the wind, complete the rustic vineyards, orchards, vacant plots, sand
scenery.50 quarries etc.55

At the same time, H. Stahl noted the The three concentric circles represent
numerous abandoned and vacant plots, the metaphor of a landscape that texts
especially below the Cotroceni hills 51 . described as structured somewhat naturally,
Until the 1930s, Grozveti remained one organically, by the natural evolution of
of the least densely populated things 56 . By a decision of the 1847 city
neighbourhoods (48 inhabitants/hectare)52. council57 in order to prevent fires such as the
The suburb, synonym to the one of that year, Bucharest was divided into
outskirts, is one element of the concentric three concentric circles, three circles of three
areas metaphor that accompanied, since ranks 58 , each with its own construction
mid 19th century, Bucharests progress regulations. Only in the first circle all
towards modernity. Ulysse de Marsillac, buildings had to be built of masonry and
while looking at an old map, was fascinated covered with roof tiles or iron and to have
by this space structure: solid chimneys. The transition from the
medieval towns random development to the
In the centre stands the royal palace, regulated urban construction took Bucharest
a fortress rather than a usual residence. The into modernity, together with the legitimation
houses of the nobility are grouped around it of such division 59 . Until the communist
like satellites around the main star, and next period, constructive efforts, often associated
there are the miserable wooden shacks, with demolition 60 , were mainly oriented
poorly placed, collapsed over one another towards the city center, a monumental space61
in the mud and serving as shelter for of new ministry headquarters, palaces,
workers destined to manual labour.53 boulevards, an area meant for display, for
parade 62 , and prestige 63 , a symbol of
A half a century later, to F. Dam modernization and of the affiliation of the
Bucharest was also a sum of three political class to Western values: Bucharest
concentric areas: the city center had an a great Western capital at the gates of
appearance similar to Western cities; next Orient (advertising slogan from the interwar
to it, and beginning to be influenced by it period) 64 . At the same time, the outskirts
there was the area occupied by the continued to expand, with houses made of
population of workmen and by the small wood and adobe, covered with cardboard,
industry, where buildings multiplied, wooden planks, sometimes with reeds, straw,
streets were outlined and lighting was husks65. Anything that misery can imagine
extending54. In the third area, the outskirts and anything that the poor can invent to
were combat misery takes shape in our suburbs66.
The materiality of the landscape tends to be
composed of immense plots of land structured by writing, by discourse, by
where poor neighbourhoods were formed
here and there, of Romanians, sometimes of 55
Gypsies, who practice their crafts, such as Dam 2007, 344345.
On the space dynamics of this model, see
wheelmakers, carpenters, blacksmiths, Mihilescu 1925, 150; 152163; Mihilescu 2003,
bricklayers, day laborers or workmen at 1115, 8485, 113123, 125135, 153155.
some factory nearby. Close to these suburbs Lascu 1997, 65; Cin 2010, 186.
there are several factories, and their number Georgescu 1969, 6465.
On the systematization plans of 1914, 1916, 1919
is increasing every year, and then there are 1921, 1935, see Pnoiu 2011, 186193, 202215.
Iorga 1939, 310, 312; Derer 1995.
Iorga 1939, 312, 320.
50 62
Cioflec 1966, 64. Voronca 1972, 237.
51 63
Stahl 2002, 81; Pippidi 2002, 62. Pippidi 2002, 910.
52 64
Sfinescu 2002b, 211. Pippidi 2002, 10.
53 65
Marsillac 1999, 84. Vrtosu n.d., 4142; Mueeanu 1935, 13.
54 66
Dam 2007, 344345. Vrtosu n.d., 15.

Sorin Oan-Marghitu

systematization and zoning plans as means of from 1894, the Western limits were marked
city improvement67. Modernity marked for by the Ghencea Cemetery, the Military
Bucharest the transition at the discourse level Pyrotechnics, and Macedons Mill
from the functional space structure of a (Ciurel) 77 . This marginal position of
lifestyle characteristic to a social class to the Grozveti and Cotroceni encouraged
population polarization 68 , where the various writers who were influenced by the
aristocracy and the merchants citys capitalist changes to look back
neighbourhoods were grouped in the centre69. nostalgically at the times when the hills
Engineering (in order to know what our around Bucharest were covered in
capital can provide in the future, we must vineyards and orchards. In 1902, G.M.
know it scientifically) 70 , discipline (for an Ionescu was under the illusion that after
anarchic and rural population; the general the completion of the Dmbovia channel
social Orientalism generates social anarchy, between the Hydroelectric Plant and Ciurel
general indiscipline, anarchy of values, lack which is under intensive construction
of pride, political cowardice, the nostalgia of Crmidarii de Sus will become, once the
filth and the all-corrupting politicianism)71, now vacant plots are drained and planted
classification and segregation (class hatred an entertainment area like the ones that
stems precisely from close knowledge of the were once popular with the old and merry
lifestyle of the rich classes, and if hatred is Bucharest townspeople.78
already there it intensifies even more) 72
materialized in concentric circles gradual THE GROZVETI PARK: THE
transitions from the centre to the outskirts. STRATIGRAPHY
Projects were aimed both at functional and
social zoning: the central district, the Each trench has its own
military area, cheap housing districts around stratigraphy, a sequence of deposits of
the industrial districts (The number of hands black, brown and grey soil. The
warrant the life of an industry, as much as the construction materials found here did not
capital and the markets) 73 , residential belong to buildings or paths. They were not
neighbourhoods (in the elevated parts of the positioned in any order; sometimes they
city, the more picturesque and less densely were next to each other, other times
built ones, with more parks, where there scattered or associated to other items or
would be no industry and no unsanitary waste. The observed layers can only be
houses)74. Even the image of the future, the interpreted as marks of consecutive
Bucharest utopia, is outlined in concentric depositions on the surface of the researched
circles: the commercial and administrative land. We were generally able to note that in
centre, then the central residential area, the the Eastern and Western sectors the filling
area of cheap houses and industrial districts consisted mainly of soil and building
etc.75. material debris, waste, and a few items. In
The city and its circles continued to the trenches of the central part of the
expand, partly for the reason that the investigated area there were thick deposits
majority of the population lead and leads a of massive concrete pieces as well as other
very modest life76, and few had the means building materials.
to live in the centre; according to a law
Pnoiu 2011, 99.
Iorga 1939, 286; Marsillac 1999, 125.
Dobrescu 2002, 269.
Houses can no longer remain
Dobrescu 2002, 274, 297. scattered disorderly on the edge of muddy
Sfinescu 2002b, 252. lanes. Houses must be built solidly, in a
Sfinescu 2002a, 123. constructivist manner, wholly marking the
Sfinescu 2002b, 253; see also, Dobrescu 2002,
75 77
Iancu 1934, 1415. Georgescu et alii 1965, 362.
76 78
Sfinescu 2002a, 115. Ionescu 1902, 547548.

An Archaeology of the Contemporary Past: Excavations in the Grozveti Park, Bucharest

harsh sensitivity of our time79. During the Mateescu). On the plateau there were the
interwar period, the avant-garde architect various military headquarters, the Royal
Marcel Iancu dreamt of a Bucharest with a Palace and the Cotroceni train station
centre of tower residences where 60 nearby, and the Leul/Lion monument
stories would house almost 30,000 living (dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the
souls with a 400 m distance between them, engineering battalion) 85 . Various city
amidst generous parks. Towards the guides dating from the communist period
outskirts there would be cheap apartments restricted this list to the Culture House,
in immense buildings measuring 400 x 200 Botanical Garden and former royal palace86,
m, and housing 25,000 living souls each, the Military Engineers Monument
also enclosing gardens with pergolas, areas (Leul) and the Grozveti power plant87.
meant for sports and for strolls, almost as Initially, in this part of town the communist
big as our Cimigiu Garden. An iron will project continued, incorporated,
and an iron fist, such as Bucharest has manipulated and transformed the old
known before, and the utopia will become significance of the liberal modernist
reality80. During the communist period, the project. The names of some streets were
outskirts were monumentalized, and changed (for example the I.G. Duca
transformed into the New City 81 . Boulevard became the Armata
Massive constructions are especially Poporului/Peoples Army Boulevard). The
foreseen for the marginal city areas, which Cotroceni palace functioned between 1949
shall form well-aggregated self-contained and 1976 as the Pioneers Palace 88 , the
units, ranked structurally. The housing place where our fatherlands future citizens
districts accompanied the monuments of grow up and are being educated 89 . After
socialist industrialization 82 , and 32,600 the 1977 earthquake, until 1988, the
apartments were built only between 1958 building was restored in order to be used
196183. The decision of the November 1952 for high-level representation90. In 1968 the
party assembly was to issue a Bucharest church was transformed into a Museum of
systematization and reconstruction plan that Old Religious Art91. Moreover, the church
would ensure the unitary and harmonious was omitted from a city guide issued in
development, the good organization and 196292, and was later demolished in 1984.
allocation of land, and the end of the Texts published during the communist
contrast between the centre and the period celebrated the socialist
outskirts84. industrialization 93 , the new apartment
A guide dating from the interwar buildings on the Armata Poporului
period mentioned in the Cotroceni- Boulevard 94 together with the mythical
Grozveti area the channelled Dmbovia birth of the new era, the anti-fascist
river, the Crmidarii de Sus church, the uprising 95 . The area acquired a mixed
Botanical Garden, food markets on the appearance, blending together the image of
Independenei Causeway and at the a district of apartment buildings (especially
Grozveti Bridge, the Central Power Plant, on the Armata Poporului Boulevard)96 and
Primary School No. 38, a Popular
Athenaeum, the Light of Grozveti
credit co-operative, some second-rate 85
Ghid 1934, 25, 26, 70, 72, 77, 114115, 120.
restaurants (Marinescu N., Parcul 86
Vintil 1961; Ionescu, Kiriac 1982.
Grozvetilor, Parcul Pascal, Parcul 87
Georgescu et alii 1970, 168170.
Giurescu 1966, 395, fig. 237; Opri 1993.
Stoicescu 1961, 50.
79 90
Voronca 1972, 205. Opri 1993.
80 91
Iancu 1934, 1516. Ciho et alii 1993, 174.
81 92
Mihilescu 2003, 165166. Stoica et alii 1999, 114.
82 93
Boia 1968, 368; Lascu 1995, 173. Giurescu 1966, 218; Giurescu 1979, 188; Ionescu
Cebuc 1964, 116; for additional data, Zahariade 1982.
2011, 44. Vasilescu 1967.
84 95
Daiche 1965, 144; on the importance of this Vintil 1961, 11.
document, Zahariade 2011, 2533. Giurescu 1979, 319.

Sorin Oan-Marghitu

the industrial and academic landscape97: a discourse. To Lenin, industrialization was

clothing factory built in 1948 around a core not a technical issue, but a materialization
consisting of military clothing workshops of social progress 106 . Apartment buildings
(APACA)98, the Electrical Machine Plant99, are not just dwelling spaces, and factories
the Polytechnic Institute and the student are not just steel producing units. They are
dorms on the quay, which were erected in also monuments that create a specific
several stages starting from 1962100, and the space107. Apartment buildings are symbols
tefan Gheorghiu Academy, built in of faith in technology and in the progress
1975 101 . In the 1980s, the decision to brought about by industrialization, of the
transform the Cotroceni complex into the official preference for the nuclear family, of
presidential residence led to the diversion the ideology of social equality108. Industrial
of the tram routes on the Grozveti Road monuments mapped on economic maps in
towards the West, on Ho Chi Minh Road, geographic atlases and textbooks define a
which separates the area we investigated harmonious space built by the party109.
from the Polytechnic Institute. During the
same period, Dmbovia was rearranged as THE GROZVETI PARK: ARCHAEOLOGICAL
a river flowing through a concrete channel. EXCAVATIONS RESULTS
Simultaneously, the Bucharest metro
construction works (begun in 1975) was The Bucharest map made by the
conducted; various metro lines were Military Geographic Institute between
inaugurated in several stages102. 18951899, as well as the one of 1914110,
Although official discourse assumes show the land currently occupied by the
that texts reflect reality, in fact they rather Grozveti Park in the river meadow area,
reshape it. The socialist city is the carrier occupied by gardens. According to a map
and the propaganda agent of communist from 1911 111 , the land was approximately
ideology 103 . The city development is 10 m lower than the prolongation of the hill
organized by party and government on the route of the Grozveti Road (Pl. 2).
decision, in functional directions that It was a part of the meadow, a pit also
correspond to urban life: work, living, rest, shown by an updated map from 1965 (Pl.
education and recreation 104 . 3). This was confirmed by archaeological
Neighbourhoods of apartment buildings excavations. The park was built on an
divided by green areas and industrial artificial mound, a location covered with
platforms connected by public transport large quantities of landfill, pieces of
lines: the concentric circles metaphor was concrete (Pl. 7/1) mixed with truck parts,
replaced by the transport network city. V.I. wires, plastic and other kinds of waste.
Lenin wrote in an article published in 1902 Geoelectric research (see Annex) indicated
that the modern world was the theatre of that the filling layer reaches a depth of 8 m
confrontation of two ideologies: bourgeois (corresponding to the difference of level
and communist, and there was no place for revealed by the above-mentioned maps; Pl.
a third ideology105. This confrontation also 34). Thus, an area of the Dmbovia river
materialized in the change of the urban meadow, a pit was transformed into a
landscape. The functionalism that structures hill, as the ground was elevated to the level
the city in practice was overcome by of the hill prolongation descending from
Cotroceni. An image of the aesthetics of
Mihilescu 2003, 182185. such landfill can be given by the immense
Giurescu 1966, 218; Giurescu 1979, 188; Ionescu
1982, 609610; Chelcea 2008, 189190.
99 106
Giurescu 1966, 218; Chelcea 2008, 190. Hannemann 2004; Zahariade 2011, 3536.
100 107
Daiche 1965, 156; Giurescu 1966, 255 fig. 174; On the monumentality of the communist space,
Ionescu 1982, 630, fig. 448. see Mihali 2009, 271.
101 108
Ionescu 1982, 631. Hannemann 2004.
102 109
Olteneanu 2005; Cin 2010, 238239. Daiche 1965; Boia 1968.
103 110
Velescu 1995, 184. Smboteanu, Moldoveanu 1938; Smboteanu,
Stnescu 1972, 422. Moldoveanu 1939; Stoica et alii 1999, 183.
105 111
Lenin 1954, 165; see also Besanon 1977, 78. Chelcea 2008, 103 map no. 7.

An Archaeology of the Contemporary Past: Excavations in the Grozveti Park, Bucharest

mound of soil and construction materials THE GROZVETI PARK: MACHINERY AND
produced by the works on a building BUILDING MATERIALS, OR ON THE
foundation next to the Ecology House, BUCHAREST UTOPIA
under construction at the time of our
research in 2007 (Pl. 7/2) or by the In the excavated sections we found:
photographs of the debris of buildings that Steel wire, large pieces of concrete
collapsed during the 1977 earthquake112. In (including some with reinforcing bars),
short, our research was conducted in a fragments of rail sleepers, pieces of cloth,
waste dump covered in grass, paths and marble tiles of the kind that can be found in
trees. The gathered information revealed metro stations, bricks, some of which were
that this radical change of the land was due held together with mortar, pavement stones,
to the works on the Bucharest metro, pieces of pipes, pipes similar to those used
between 19771981/1983, when the for fountains, Terracotta oven tiles, a tube
Grozveti and Politehnica metro stations belonging to a well shaft, three truck tires,
were built; the 1977 earthquake also one cinder block, rubber fragments,
occurred during the construction of the plastics, three small infantry shovels, tractor
Politehnica metro station: many of the parts, one engine oil filter produced by
materials deposited in the pit might have CARFIL-Braov, one street elbow, cables
originated from the buildings that were from a fuse box, pieces of burned wood, an
destroyed by the earthquake (information iron beam used for the metro constructions
provided in 2005 by engineer Gheorghe as support for slopes, the plastic cover of a
Todoran of the metro company). Probably fuse box, pitch used to insulate electric
in 1989 (Pl. 6) trees were planted in a layer cables, aluminium cables, a piece of
of the deposited filling and several concrete plywood, a cable and a rectangular section
paths were cast, as well as a flowerbed. The metal pipe, yellow and black plastic pipes,
vegetation, the planted trees, the concrete one lever, one line valve, copper
pavement paths, the now dilapidated transformer cables, a sidewalk block, an
flowerbeds concealed the industrial effort to iron pipe and a clutch disk, tiles, stones,
modify the landscape. The park built on this pieces of tin, a PVC conductor pipe,
waste dump gives archaeological quality furnace chamotte.
to construction materials, pieces of concrete The artificial mound of soil, pieces of
and bricks, annihilates their connection to the concrete and cement, asphalt, discarded
communism of the grey world of inhabited items rapidly became a natural form,
apartment buildings, of administrative- eternal as the Earth itself. The park displays
academic buildings constructed during the a solid foundation, a symbiosis of natural
same period, but still continuing to exist to and artificial, as well as a materiality of the
this day. Reconfiguring materials into a general mobilization of tools, machinery
waste dump hidden from view by a park and materials. Drivers, workmen, soldiers.
confers the waste a communist aura. On the Production heroism is the defining feature
other hand, the academic buildings and the of a socialist citizen, the essential
apartment buildings erected during the education factor according to Nicolae
communist period, with bank offices Ceauescu 113 . The presidential decree
established on their ground floors after regarding the state of necessity after the
1989, are integrated to a continuous present 1977 earthquake mobilized party activists,
time, to an advertising billboard space. In army units and Interior Ministry units,
the park, the archaeologists eye opens patriotic guards, socialist production units,
when it comes across the materiality of ruin the whole able bodied population 114 .
and of this present time. However, in the communist regime daily
life, total mobilization for production was a
common situation.

Buhoiu 1977, 5.
112 114
Buhoiu 1977. Buhoiu 1977, 89.

Sorin Oan-Marghitu

In the case of Bucharest, there was a The urban space modernity discourse
perpetual state of emergency as regards was oriented both towards a past that
rendering space representative. Since 1850- needed to be demolished or remodelled and
1860 (which marked, according to N. Iorga, especially towards the future. It celebrated
the end of the old town)115 all eyes were on its finished or imagined state, the visible
the future and the past was left to only a few features, the monumentalized landscape,
nostalgic voices. Striving towards the the official cultural and political buildings,
utopia compels the city to permanently the residential districts, the factories.
overcome itself and to permanent self- Models of factories or of apartment
destruction 116 . The material available to buildings neighbourhoods served not only
the city planner is immense, the means are for building project presentations (a stage
revolutionary and the plan must be prior to construction) but were also
utopic117. We find ourselves nowadays in reproductions, miniature monuments that
a stage of complete recovery. The often became gifts for Ceauescu. The
commercial centre grows vertically, the archaeology of the contemporary past
uncomfortable old houses make room for reveals the destruction process concealed
blockhouses in the centre, and the few yards by the discourse. It reveals the nude state of
and gardens are disappearing every modernity, that of a perpetual unfinished
moment 118 . [T]he ruthless demolition of project, subject to metamorphosis, the
the centre is necessary in order to allow for construction, destruction, and
circulation speed and for free space for reconstruction, for which the world has
hygiene 119 . Levelling. Cutting the Mihai- become more ephemeral than a human
Vod Hill in order to open a new being.
boulevard120. Projects that seemed forgotten
were resumed unexpectedly. The Government THE GROZVETI PARK: OBJECTS OR ON
Palace and the ministries that were to SOCIALIST HUMANISM
surround it were imagined by Ulysse de
Marsillac in the 19th century121. The idea to In the landfill layers, together with
build a National Redemption Cathedral building materials (Pl. 8): one yoghurt jar,
appeared in the interwar period; the first two cans of fish in tomato sauce, canned in
attempt to dig a 60 km navigable channel the USSR in 1982, a fragment of a green
supplied with water by a stream deviated one liter bottle neck, fragments of porcelain
from the Arge river in order to connect the dishes, the bottom of a clay pot (probably a
Danube to Bucharest belonged to Charles flowerpot), the bottom of a clay bowl, a
II122. C. Sfinescu had previously envisioned fragment of a glazed decorative plate, a
a navigation channel on which barges would plastic lid of a cup of Fgra cottage
carry materials as far as the Grozveti cheese and cream, an oyster shell, a
dam123. On the other hand, the former mayor fragment of a can labelled in Polish and
Dem. I. Dobrescu pleaded for covering the Czech (with egg shells stuck to the lid),
Dmbovia river in order to transform it green glass sherds, the bottom of a
into a channel with stations build porcelain mug, fragments of plastic sacks
underground124. and bags, a mirror sherd.
During the first years of popular rule,
official discourse emphasized the
Pippidi 2002, 42. proletariat dictatorship and the class
Groys 2007, 71. struggle. Production heroes were celebrated
Iancu 1934, 7.
Iancu 1934, 10.
in poems, became novel characters, were
Dobrescu 2002, 273; see also Iancu 1934, 1720. monumentalized by realist-socialist literary
Stahl 2002, 131135. and artistic works. Official discourse
Ionescu 1999, 20. celebrated construction sites, construction
Caranfil et alii 1936, 1215; Nemetescu 1943, 21 workers, masons. Paintings gave tribute to
28; Pippidi 2002, 1011.
Sfinescu 2002a, 143149.
Dobrescu 2002, 276, 284.

An Archaeology of the Contemporary Past: Excavations in the Grozveti Park, Bucharest

the Bucharest metro builders125. The Thesis politics they belong to the world of
of July 1971 (Ceauescus discourse on Caractere. The working people who
political-ideological activity) inaugurated a subscribed to the partys vision only existed
democratized image of proletarians, now in works which intellectuals attempted to
transformed, beside the peasants and make compelling enough to transform
intellectuals, into working class members reality into the ideal world of official
(oameni ai muncii). The class struggle was documents, filtered through artistic
replaced by socialist, revolutionary vibration and scientific accuracy. The
humanism126. In 1973, the writer Alexandru works that mirrored the civic non-
Monciu-Sudinski provided a few characters involvement ethics, dwelling in the sphere
(Caractere) 127 , working people whose of pure ideas, which some nowadays call
biographies revolved around work and resistance by culture, by mimicking and
machines. A persons value was measured delivering the illusion of normality, all
by his/her profession, job, skill, these also contributed not only to the
qualification, age. They went to night legitimation but also to the reproduction of
school and some still vaguely dreamt of communism (the literary critic M. Niescu
college education. All those not doing asked intellectuals to participate in a silent
physical work were considered strike for a decade: writers should either
intellectuals: phone operators, Peoples curse or be silent) 130 . After 1989, the
Council cashiers. An individuals dominant neoliberal discourse, which many
development stages also revolved around intellectuals contributed to build, gradually
work: (1) initiation, meaning getting the turned against this class of working people,
hang of a profession, (2) undergoing considered to have been mainly responsible
various stages of qualification, (3) teaching for the perpetuation of communism, of
apprentices. Workmen appreciated obsolete mentality, dependent on the state
landscapes to the extent to which they and incapable to adapt to market economy.
belonged to communist mythology: Its very identity was cancelled when
constructions, apartment buildings, new socialist economy was destroyed. The term
neighbourhoods. Attention, enthusiasm, worker now refers to those working in
intuition, consciousness, furnace, valve factories, in the field, at the Post Office or
rocker, lathe, electrical oven, converter, for the secret services, including the former
Turbosol pump, meet the plan, confidence Securitate/Secret Police.
in the party. We dont need The archaeology of the communist
embellishments. We need people, we need past goes beyond such discourse and into
cast iron, we need truth. Monciu-Sudinski the anonymity of daily life, of simple
caricatured the ideal working man type that actions and rituals overlooked by words, to
communism was trying to create 128 . The tell the story of eating canned fish on lunch
valve rocker reality from the point of view breaks (moments of standardized industrial
of Monciu-Sudinskis characters is closer to time), of discarding eggshells in an empty
the music of the synchrophasotron and its fish can, of mobilizing the military into the
thirty-six thousand ton electromagnet, the production field, of the yoghurt jar, of
first cosmic organ that sounded to Geo cottage cheese, glass containers, of souvenir
Bogza like Bachs and Beethovens music129. sea shells, of the decorations and mirrors
Writers, historians, archaeologists, architects, adorning private space. It reveals how these
philosophers, artists and filmmakers objects are incorporated in waste dumps,
enrolled amongst the intellectuals that larger constellations that juxtapose cement
spread, popularized, aesthetized party and concrete (associated by official
discourse to progress, industrialization,
Crneci 2000, 133. standardization, systematization) to bricks
Ceauescu 1981. (elements of private space, of a backward
Monciu-Sudinski 1997.
On other interpretations of Caractere, see
Manolescu 2005.
129 130
Bogza 1959, 498499. Niescu 1995, 378379.

Sorin Oan-Marghitu

nature, the materiality of ineffective manual technological description of the metal screw
labour)131. and in the ecstatic contemplation of the act
of finding a metal screw. Technology
History is natural selection. Mutant standardizes to the same extent the past,
versions of the past struggle for dominance; denying its alterity, and the writings about
new species of fact arose, and old, saurian the past. By its propensity for tautological
truths go to the wall, blindfolded and judgments (a pit is a pit, garbage is
smoking last cigarettes. Only the mutations garbage), in dialectical relation to le refus
of the strong survive. The weak, the de laltrit, la ngation du diffrent, le
anonymous, the defeated leave few marks: bonheur de lidentit et lexaltation du
field-patterns, axe-heads, folk-tales, broken semblable137, this effort could be included
pitchers, burial mounds, the fading memory in what Roland Barthes called petit-
of their youthful beauty.132 bourgeois mythology. Our excavation of a
filling of the communist period revealed
Archaeology writes the story of those that, beyond its appearance, it is more than
who never wore the skin of a lion (to just a mere filling. The pit turned into the
paraphrase the title of Michael Ondaatjes hill on which the Grozveti park was built
novel), a faded rememoration of those who is a fragment of the communist landscape,
could not tell their own history. structured by a discourse that pointed both
towards the past of the bourgeoisie and
DEEP-SEA FAUNA AND THE SAILORS SIREN landlords, striving to annihilate its
TATTOOS remains, and the future, the time when
communism would finally be built through
There is, as has been noted, a heroic production. The pit was an
paradox of modernity: having been illustration of the suburb concept, a
founded on the myth of technology in itself, metaphor of backwardness, a vestige of the
all the more durable as the critical spirit of old society. The socialist remodelling of the
modernity allowed itself to be enticed by it landscape needed to be vertical and
in the most irrational manner 133 . The uplifting, filling up the pits. The writer
mechanism of technology is only tefan Bnulescu, perched on the
preoccupied with itself, with its own strictly scaffolding of the 16th floor of the future
technological issues. Any other human skyscraper at Sala Palatului, the tallest
dimension is either swallowed and building in Bucharest at that time, saw the
assimilated or rejected and destroyed 134 . tops of socialist buildings, blocks of flats
In this tautological universe, the that he associated with light, air and colour,
archaeology discourse in Romania is but his gaze also fell on the old non-
narcissistically oriented towards celebrating systematized neighbourhoods, with their
its own methods, lured by humid and hazy atmosphere, with old
pluridisciplinarity running at idle, failing to houses with wrecked and damp
explain phenomena by themselves Paul foundations138. In Soviet communism, any
Veynes definition of functionalism135. The commodity became an ideologically
framework of an age can be reconstituted, relevant message, just as in capitalism any
according to avant-garde author Ilarie message became a commodity 139 . The
Voronca, from a single verse, as well as monumentality of the landscape built
from a mere metal screw136. The dominant through discourse was a material proof of
archaeological discourse in Romania has the construction of the new society, a wish
become trapped in the functional- to project it into eternity, cast in durable
concrete. The city was a long term
Ioan 2000, 7677; Hannemann 2004. investment, namely a vision of the future;
Rushdie 1984, 124.
Vais 2005, 77 (original emphasis).
134 137
Hurduzeu 2005, 95 (original emphasis). Barthes 1957, 81.
135 138
Veyne 1999, 347. Bnulescu 1960, 2425.
136 139
Voronca 1972, 199, 249. Groys 2009, 8.

An Archaeology of the Contemporary Past: Excavations in the Grozveti Park, Bucharest

the synthesis of durability, a materialist symphonies. La mconnaissance de la

ideology, the history of a country, the nature esthtique de lHistoire a provoqu
philosophy of existence 140 . The steel chez les historiens une dcoloration
whirlwinds of production transformed complte des temps quils se sont propos
people together with the daily performance dvoquer et dexpliquer145. The methods,
of urban landscape 141 . Ideology erected the pluridisciplinary research, as well as the
monumental buildings, around which man employed concepts and theoretical
himself becomes monumental 142 . Words approaches, need to permeate
acquire a certain materiality, whereas the archaeological writings durably but
object becomes narrative taking the shape discreetly. They should no longer be their
of message. A kind of object-words, word- own purpose, but rather become what they
objects, cities with eyelashes, concentric are: instruments for learning about such
circles, monuments that sometimes give life stories. The literary space created by
a meaning and more often than not crush Melville for the white whale is closer to
peoples destiny, shrill cries that stifle the archaeology than a zoology study would be.
utterance of peoples own stories.
Analysing history from the literary ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
perspective is rather hazardous. It is like
studying sailors siren tattoos in order to Preventive excavations conducted
learn about deep-sea fauna 143 . However, in 2005 and 2007 in the Grozveti Park in
archaeology is indeed a means of learning Bucharest were co-ordinated by Paul
by the images of sailors siren tattoos, by Damian, and I hereby thank him for the
mirror reflections, by looking at the deep- permission to publish the results. I am also
sea fauna through a glass, darkly. Seeking grateful to my colleagues who helped me,
direct knowledge of the fauna by both on site and with compiling the
overlooking such interpretations that twine necessary documentation for drafting
together the sea, the woman and the fish excavation reports: Valentin Bottez,
into one, namely the stories materialized Cristina Drghici, Mihai Florea, Silviu Oa,
into images which in their turn perpetuate Elvira Safta, Andra Samson. I wish to
the stories, is the surest way of express thanks to engineer Gheorghe
transforming the past into an image of the Todoran of Metroul S.A. for providing
present. This is exactly the difference information on the context of the formation
between myth and science from Ernst of the waste dump on which the Grozveti
Jngers perspective: Here the world is Park was built; I also wish to thank Silviu
interpreted, and there it is explained. If and Emanoil Cristian Ene for the data on
Palinurus fell asleep at the tiller, it was the communist past of the area. I am
because a god touched his eyelids. A grateful to Viorel Petcu, who performed the
chemist would simplify this phenomenon test excavations in 2007, for the
down to the formation of lactic acid inside determination of the industrial items.
the tissue144. Only such stories, narrations, Versions of this text have been read by
myths, representations provide an image of Rodica Oan-Marghitu, Alexandru
the alterity of the past, the difference Dragoman, Tiberiu Vasilescu, Corina Bor,
between various places and times which is, and I thank all of them for the corrections,
according to Philippe Aris, similar to the notes and bibliography entries. Last but not
difference between two paintings or two least, I express my gratitude to Maria
Krause for the English translation.
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Sorin Oan-Marghitu


Pl. 1 Bucharest Grozveti Park. Plan of the excavated areas

Pl. 2 The field on which Grozveti Park was made. Plan from 1911
Pl. 3 The field on which Grozveti Park was made. Plan from 1965 which was updated during the
construction of the subway line
Pl. 4 The field on which Grozveti Park was made. Plan from 1987
Pl. 5 Bucharest Grozveti Park. 1. View from the OMV gas-station and 2. from Vasile Milea
Pl. 6 Bucharest Grozveti Park. Images from 2005
Pl. 7 Bucharest Grozveti Park. 1. Filling of S04/2007 sounding. 2. Configuration of a dump
resulted from the works around the Ecology House (2007)
Pl. 8 Bucharest Grozveti Park. Objects discovered in different soundings (2005, 2007)


Pl. 1 Bucureti Parcul Grozveti. Planul general al spturii

Pl. 2 Terenul pe care a fost amenajat Parcul Grozveti. Plan din 1911
Pl. 3 Terenul pe care a fost amenajat Parcul Grozveti. Plan din 1965 actualizat n perioada construirii
Pl. 4 Terenul pe care a fost amenajat Parcul Grozveti. Plan din 1987
Pl. 5 Bucureti Parcul Grozveti. 1. Vedere dinspre benzinria OMV i 2. dinspre Bulevardul
Vasile Milea
Pl. 6 Bucureti Parcul Grozveti. Imagini din 2005
Pl. 7 1. Bucureti Parcul Grozveti. Umplutura sondajului S04/2007. 2. Aspectul unei halde
rezultat n urma lucrrilor din zona Casei Ecologiei (2007)
Pl. 8 Bucureti Parcul Grozveti. Obiecte descoperite n diferite sondaje (2005, 2007)

Muzeul Naional de Istorie a Romniei
Secia Arheologie
Calea Victoriei 12, 030026, Bucureti.

Pl. 1 Bucharest Grozveti Park. Plan of the excavated areas.
Pl. 2 The field on which Grozveti Park was made. Plan from 1911.
Pl. 3 The field on which Grozveti Park was made. Plan from 1965 which was updated
during the construction of the subway line.
Pl. 4 The field on which Grozveti Park was made. Plan from 1987.

Pl. 5 Bucharest Grozveti Park. 1. View from the OMV gas-station and. 2. from
Vasile Milea Boulevard.

Pl. 6 Bucharest Grozveti Park. Images from 2005.


Pl. 7 Bucharest Grozveti Park. 1. Filling of S04/2007 sounding.

2. Configuration of a dump resulted from the works around the Ecology House (2007).
1 2 3

5 6

7 8 9

10 11

Pl. 8 Bucharest Grozveti Park. Objects discovered in different soundings (2005, 2007).
An Archaeology of the Contemporary Past: Excavations in the Grozveti Park, Bucharest


Geoelectric measurements were was 20 m. Data processing revealed an

conducted between 19.10.200522.10.2005 average baseline depth of 8 m. This section
in the Vasile Milea Boulevard area (Pl. 1) revealed the presence of a covered valley
covering 7500 m2. The information obtained around m 2540. A map of the electric field
by prospecting covered a depth interval of 0 distribution in the area was made based on
3 m. The distribution of apparent resistivity spontaneous potential measurements (Pl.
in the 03 m interval is illustrated in Pl. 2/1. 2/2). An increase of the electric field was
Recorded resistivity ranged between 10 and recorded from the North to the South. We
35 ohmm, and the anomaly areas were made this map because the electric field
situated at an interval of 2535 ohmm. The distribution might also provide useful
maximum values areas represented information.
inhomogeneity within the above-mentioned
interval. A minimum value area was recorded
on the E-W axis; this was due to high soil
humidity, and possibly to the presence of a Eng. Florian Rdulescu
former valley that was covered up. S.C. Intel 91 SRL
In order to determine the baseline, a
geoelectric profile was conducted on the E-W
axis (Pl. 4); in this case the investigated depth

Pl. 1 Annex.

Pl. 2 Annex.
Pl. 3 Annex.