Remake of a Roman altar

Saturday, September 30th 2017, a group of historians and volunteers from Transylvania are building a remake of an ancient Roman altar, with painted inscription in Latin. The meeting is part of the "Labyrinth through time" cultural project implemented by Virtus Antiqua, a reenactment NGO from Cluj-Napoca. The activity will take place at Camp Virtus, near Cluj, outdoors in the future historical park planned there. Volunteers and visitors shall receive handouts on the topic [free download of the Romanian presentation], shall work on the experimental archaeology activity and then will be able to taste recipes inspired by those of Antiquity.
Families are mostly envisaged through this project, but all visitors are welcome - all activities are free of charge. The workshops takes place between 11 AM and 15 PM.
Roman altar - experimental archaeology at Camp Virtus
 in preparation, we have gathered more images of Roman altar and ceremonies reconstructions in a Pinterest album HERE 
A brief presentation in Romanian is also available HERE.
Read also the explanation of ARA (altar) in Lacus Curtius HERE.

Reenactment of a Roman wedding ceremony from http://www.roman-empire.net/


Vintage felted flower

I am not a big fan of felted handmade decorations, because they are often kitschy through the too-realistic shapes and too strong colors and combinations. Still, I like simple felted slippers, for example, or a vintage flower in natural colors that I have just added to my Etsy shop, the Transylvanian Trove.
It is a felted flower in warm, autumn colors, irregular, organic shape, and intentionally asymmetric. It can be sewn on clothes, as a nice accessory, or can be attached with a pin (not included) and worn as a brooch. Possible decoration for several hair, feet, jewelry and dress accessories.
Unique vintage item from Transylvania, entirely handmade.
Dimensions: ca. 5 x 4 cm (1.5 x 1.9 inches).

Vintage felted flower

Felted decoration from Transylvania


Transylvanian winter landscapes of 2017 by Marin Gruia

Marin Gruia's landscapes are classical and sensitive, displaying a subtle color palette. His winter landscapes in particular fit this description and their special charm is rendered by the inclusion of elements typical to his homeland, Transylvania. The haystacks laden with snow for example are masterfully rendered through the relief structuring of the oil color paste. Here are two very recent such paintings, made in September 2017, oil on canvas, ca. 70 x 50 cm.
For updates you can follow his Facebook page HERE
See more of his winter landscapes HERE.
See his working technique described in a previous post HERE.

Winter landscape by Marin Gruia

"Winter in Transylvania" by Marin Gruia


Celtic costumes workshop

In Romania, the Celtic civilization has enjoyed little interest on the part of reenactors and historical festival organizers so far. There is a single Celtic Festival, organized a couple of years now in Beclean/Baile Figa, but the Celtic reenactment camp merely provides a distraction for festival goers who are there to enjoy the massive evening rock concerts. Several reenactment groups also have Celtic costumes among those of other "barbarians" and, naturally, Dacian and Roman ones. The most numerous Celts, with the most elaborate costumes, are to be mentioned among the members of Omnis Barbaria NGO.

Inside the "Celtic village" during the 2016 Celtic Festival in Baile Figa
Virtus Antiqua acknowledges the relative neglect of the ancient Celtic civilization, despite the impact in had on Transylvania at least, during the Iron Age. One of the weekend workshops organized part of the "Labyrinth through time" at Camp Virtus, near Cluj, thus focuses on recreating Celtic textiles and dress elements employing fabric that might have been used during Antiquity. The workshop "Atelier de reconstituie istorica - costume celtice" is held Saturday, September 23rd, at Camp Virtus - find directions HERE.


Dacian pottery workshop

Modelling by hand Dacian clay pots
Saturday, the 16th of September, between 11 AM and 15 PM, the meeting at Camp Virtus, in Salicea, near Cluj, is dedicated to ancient Dacian pottery. As many are interested today in the little-known Dacian civilization from the present-day territory of Romania, we have decided that some of our project entitled Labyrinth through time shall be dedicated to it. This meeting of experimental archaeology will consists of a presentation of the pottery shapes considered typical o the Dacians, many modeled by hand, including the distribution of handouts, followed by the actual clay modelling of shapes such as the cup, the jar-pot and the so-called fruit bowl. The pots will be pit fired in October, during our special Labyrinth through time event, in one of the centers of the actual 1 ha labyrinth inhabited by historical characters.

Dacian pottery experimental archaeology meeting at Camp Virtus
Free access on Saturday for a fun, outdoor experience for the entire family, involving a bit of education in historical and patrimony matters. See you at Camp Virtus!


Collectibles from Transylvania

Handle -

Dracula, small metal spoon, enamel, vampire, bat, blood drops, Romania, collectible spoon by the Transylvanian Trove, Halloween gift 

I have recently added to my Etsy shop the Transylvanian Trove this collectible little spoon from Romania with vampire decoration: the handle is in the shape of Dracula and the bowl is decorated with bats and blood drops. Inscribed "Romania" and "Dracula" in archaic font. It is made of common metal alloy (not silver), with enamel decoration in white, black and red on the front, while the back is left undecorated. Dimensions: 12 x 2.5 cm (4.7 x 0.9 inches).
Spoon bowl - Dracula, Romania

Lot of 25 vintage metal pins, collection of pins from different countries, fashion accessories, collectibles, traveling souvenirs

 My shop also includes another collectibles item, a lot of 25 metal pins from different countries that I have visited (Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Poland, Andorra, Austria, Slovenia etc.) and organizations (UNV, UNCCD).


Ancient pottery workshop

New experimental archaeology meeting this weekend, at Camp Virtus, near Cluj - "Intalnire ceramica antica". In a series of reenactment and reconstruction meetings part of the Labyrinth through time cultural project, this workshop focuses on the modelling of Roman and Dacian pot shapes. After the pots have dried, during a subsequent meeting the team project members and volunteers shall experiment with the old firing technique, namely pit firing.
Feel free to join us, despite the cloudy weather, September 9th between 11 AM and 15 PM in Salicea, near Cluj, to learn more about how the ancients modeled out of clay the largest category of everyday items they used and to experiment the process hands-on.
"Labirint prin timp" is partly financed by the National Cultural Fund Administration and organized by Virtus Antiqua NGO. Don't miss out on the news and stay tuned for the final event, in October this year, the creation of an actual labyrinth with different cores inhabited by Dacians, Romans, Celt, gladiators, auxiliary soldiers, civilians, perfume makers and hawkers!

Experimental archaeology meeting at Camp Virtus
Such activities contribute to the development of Camp Virtus, an open-air reenactment center focusing on the history, material culture and practices of the inhabitants of Transylvania during Antiquity - mainly Romans, Dacians and Celts.


Labyrinth through time - free online resources

One of the objectives of our reenactment project Labyrinth through time, financed by the National Cultural Administration Fund [AFCN] of the Romanian government, is to make available free online a series of resources regarding ancient history, reenactment, and patrimony. These are the handouts provided to volunteers and visitors at every weekend meeting, but online they may reach a wider audience.
The handouts contain general presentations on topics related to the reenactment activities performed at Camp Virtus: ancient plants, gardens and gardening tools; textiles, looms, and weaving tablets in Antiquity; Roman altars and ceremonies; food and cooking; bread and ovens; Celtic clothes and costumes and others.
All handouts [in Romanian only] can be downloaded in pdf format from the project's pages on the Camp Virtus website HERE

Handout sample - Roman altars and ceremonies pdf