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Defensive system of citadel Mereşeuca-Cetăţuie

Journal: Tyragetia (Vol.IV, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 235-248

Keywords : Mereşeuca-Cetăţuie citadel; 12th- 13th centuries; defensive system; Halici;

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The citadel is situated 600-800 m east of Mereşeuca village, Mereşeuca commune, Ocniţa district, on a high, isolated hill, on the right bank of the Driver river. The local inhabitants call this headland „Cetăţuie.” On the west side, the hill has the aspect of a narrow isthmus, crossed transversally by a flattened earth rampart. The isthmus becomes wider to the east of the wall, forming an ascending slope. One isthmus slope had been scarped at around 100 m away from the wall. Starting with the scarp level a semi-circular wall appears headed towards the south and north-east of the hill. One of the wall extremities ends at the northern steep edge of the hill, while another was probably connected to the scarp. The internal defensive line, repeating the shape of the anterior one, lies at the distance of 40-50 m from the wall and forms a central circular platform with a diameter of 100 m. The fortified surface of the citadel is about 2 ha. The site was discovered in 1949 by T.S. Passek. The research uncovered four Eneolithic horizons and layers belonging to cultures Černoles, Sântana de Mureş-Černjachov and to the old Russian culture. The wall and ditch from the older cultural deposits had been sectioned in 1984. The ditch intersected the cultural layers going down into the sterile soil to the depth of 3.3-3.5 m. The ditch has a width of 0.8-1.0 m at the bottom and up to 5 m in the upper part. The ceramic and amphorae material discovered during the investigations allows us to dates the citadel to the 12th- 13th centuries. It was deserted and burnt probably by order of Tatar-Mongols at the middle of the 13th century. The closest analogies for Mereşeuca-Cetăţuie fortification can be found at Lencăuţi (fortress) and at Lomacinţi, in northern Bucovina. It appears that the fortress from Mereşeuca represents the southernmost outpost, an observation citadel of Halici from the right bank of Dniester. We can assume, as a hypothesis, that this citadel corresponds with the town Kucelmin from older Russian chronicles.

Last modified: 2017-03-19 17:56:45