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Conquest strategy and political discourse: New evidence for the conquest of Dacia from LiDAR analysis at Sarmizegetusa Regia

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Abstract

By the end of the 1st c. A.D., Dacia had been an intermittent thorn in Rome's side for almost two centuries. The ambitions of Burebista and the actions of his various successors continued to threaten Roman hegemony along the lower Danube, culminating in the rise of the powerful kingdom of Decebalus and a substantial Roman defeat in Moesia. Domitian sent troops against the Dacians to restore the dignity of Rome (85-86 and 88-88/89), but with mixed success, finally having to settle for buying peace at a substantial price in order to free himself to deal with threats to security in both Germany and Pannonia. No doubt both the costs involved and the perceived lack of success further contributed to the hostility of Roman authors towards Domitian and left unfinished business on the Danube frontier. It is no great surprise, therefore, that Dacia was the first area to which Trajan — to whom the attitude of contemporary sources (e.g., Pliny's Panegyricus ) could not have been in greater contrast — turned his attention within three years of his accession.

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Rezumat. Ne referim la fortificaţia cunoscută în literatură sub numele Muncel, aflată pe mun-tele de la nord de capitala regatului dacic, la o mică distanţă dar 500 de m mai sus, reprezentând cheia defensivei (sau ofensivei) din războaiele daco-romane de la începutul sec. II dHr. Există practic un consens în a atribui lucrările de acolo romanilor, deşi sondajele arheologice minuscule , de până acum, indică inventar de tip dacic. Ultima luare de poziţie în materie 1 reprezintă un moment important, câtă vreme este semnată de autori cu un renume solid în cercetarea aeriană şi arheologia militară romană; mai mult, studiul respectiv beneficiază de modelul teren de tip LiDAR, care reprezintă premiza unei expertize topografice de fineţe. Din nefericire, nu a fost cazul. Am profitat de pre-existenţa unui model-teren realizat în 2016 (din dronă) pentru a verifica analiza cercetătorilor britanici şi am ajuns la concluzii diametral opuse. Între motivele unei asemenea încheieri enumerăm aici absenţa unui şanţ exterior (susţinută de autorii menţi-onaţi, dar şi de Al. Stefan, cu peste un deceniu în urmă), existenţa unui larg şanţ interior (carac-teristică tipic dacică), grosimea neobişnuită a valului (pentru castrele de marş), existenţa unor "anexe" fără analogie funcţională în lumea romană (în special dubla palisadă de la vest), absen-ţa porţilor (care ar trebui să fie vizibile în plan, în ipoteza menţionată), prezenţa gropilor mari de pe conturul interior (care nu sunt moderne), dar şi recentele descoperirile "întâmplătoare" (cu detectorul de metale) din urmă cu un deceniu. Analiza unui model-teren nu poate substitui cercetarea arheologică prin săpătură, dar o poate orienta, ceea ce şi cititorul român poate aprecia fie şi doar din ilustraţia ataşată. Cuvinte cheie: topografie, model teren, amenajări defensive, fortificaţii dacice, castre de marş.
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