Period of excavations September 2010 - July 2011

Institutions Museum of Bucharest City, "Vasile Parvan" Institute of Archaeology

Research teams
Museum of Bucharest City: Dr. Gheorghe Manucu-Adamesteanu (supervisor of excavations) and doctoral students Elena-Florentina Gavrila, Theodor-Aurelian Ignat, Raluca-Iuliana Popescu, Camelia-Mirela Vintila; collaborators: Cristian Nestorescu, Florina Cristina Mitroi, Alexandra Dolea, Alina Musat, Marius Streinu.

"Vasile Parvan" Institute of Archaeology: Dr. Andrei Magureanu, Dr. Adina Elena Boroneant, Despina Daniela Magureanu, Dr. Ileana Adriana Panaite, and Meda Toderas (doctoral student).

Excavation surface 10300 square meters

The historical background
First archaeological excavations, made by Panait I. Panait, dated from 1972 and unearthed the Saint Sava churches, both of them built with bricks and mortar and had a triconical shape.

First church, according to the historical tradition was built by burgrave Andronache and it is present in documents from April 23rd 1619. The chronology offered by the coins (emission Matthias Corvinus) discovered in the graves 26, 41, and 105 suggests the using of graveyard and church in the middle of 16th century. Unfortunately this church is completely under the contemporary sidewalk and the excavations found only the south apse of the nave. Second church was erected above the first one, by Constantin Brancoveanu in 1707 and according to the foundation inscription was finished at July 20th 1709. Archaeological excavations discovered the narthex, ante-temple, nave and altar.

Graves that belonged to the cemetery of Saint Sava church were discovered in 1958 on the Academy 4 Street, by Dr. Gheorghe Cantacuzino when supervised the excavation for a future apartment building. In 1972, the excavations of Panait I. Panait discovered 12 graves (ten adults and two sub-adults) with pieces of clothing and coins as inventory. In 2010-2011 a project of underground parking requested new excavations in the area and 676 graves were unearthed (inhumation and re-inhumation burials). The necropolis has four layers of burials around nearby church and two at the margin. Most of the graves have skeletons with East-West orientation and without any special funerary construction. Among those were discovered six graves of Russian officers buried near the altar; large pieces of uniforms with the names of military unit were preserved.

Additional to the Saint Sava cemetery a number of 142 archaeological records were unearthed (pits, water pipes, oven, houses, the foundations of the Saint Sava School). The archaeological excavations found seven buildings and three of them belonged to the Saint Sava School and are present in the Borroczyn map from 1847. Another three were erected after 1850 and were ordinary buildings. A large amount of inventory is discovered, including ceramics, pots and jars glasses, faience, and tiles.

The graves inventory consists in buttons, stitches, earrings, rings, cross shaped pendants, and coins (many of them were drilled and deposed in the hand of death). In some cases fragmentary or complete bricks were arrange under or around of the deceased head. On some of them short Greek inscription were written.

Animal bones were found in big number and exhibited fragmentation, cutmarks, carnivore bites, and no burning traces. Faunal remains indicate a diet based on bovine, sheep, goats and pigs. In addition, there were discovered horse bones fragments suggesting that the population had horse in the diet (studies of Dr. Adrian Balasescu, Dr. Valentin Radu and Ioan Elek Popa from the National Museum of Romanian History).

Chronology of the site
First church from Saint Sava was erected at the end of 16th century and the beginning of the cemetery is possible to be in the same period. Second church was built over the previous one in 1707-1709. The area had suffered several disasters, like fires (those from February 27th 1739 and 1822 affected the church) and earthquakes (1738, 1802, 1829, 1838) who affected the structure of the church. In 1870 the church and the surrounding buildings were demolished.

The cemetery is typical for the 16th-19th centuries Bucharest. Near the altar were buried Russian soldiers who died in the Crimean War; a tombstone belonging to one of them was found.
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