Despre proiect


The structure of the limes consisted of a complex system of towers, earthworks, walls, small fortifications, the forts behind the limes being usually placed at a distance of ca. 5 km from it, the related civil settlements and non-Roman structures. In front the earthen ramparts it was not identified insofar a ditch. Forts are similar, garrisons to mixed infantry and cavalry troops, most likely built by them. Here and there the earthen ramparts are clearly visible, almost on the original height, the limes specificities being best preserved in the Moigrad area (Porolissum).

All over Romania, over 70 forts, 50 small fortifications and more than 150 towers are known, although their number must have been much larger. Furthermore, there are also other structures part of the border system, of the most important counting the man-made barriers, generally composed of earthen ramparts, but also of stone walls. Of the forts, only four-five may be visited and are accessible to the public, however not the same applies to any rampart part, wall or tower. In most places, the limes is no longer visible, hence it is difficult to identify. Topographically, the limes is partially protected, none of its elements being found in urban areas.

Nevertheless, only a small part belongs to the public property, thus many sectors are endangered especially because of the farming works. In most cases, the stone was used in the construction of villages, churches and medieval castles in the area. Most limes portions from northern Dacia lie in forested areas, hence affected by forestry. Ancient roads and paths cross many times the limes line.

Based on stamped tile finds, we suppose that the towers too, even the limes, were built by the fort garrisons, although the archaeological material is scarce. The layout of the towers is either rectangular or circular, they are built either of stone or timber, some, being researched in the 70’ies. In some areas, a man-made line was found, generally formed of earth ramparts, here and there with small stone walls. On the other hand, the rampart was not archaeologically investigated, but by a trench or two, its structure being unclear. Stone walls were identified only nearby Porolissum. In passes and vulnerable areas, small fortifications were built, attached to the limes wall where it was identified, but it lay at a somewhat distance from the earthen rampart, similarly to the towers. Still in passes were built also the earthen ramparts, although in recent years a stone wall and earth ramparts were reported on plateaus, not only in passes. The towers seem to sketch a line, however, in fact, they are set in a network, being located in depth or in front according to the land configuration, obviously, for communication purposes.

The specificities of the northern border are found only here and there in the other border areas of Dacia, however arguments are extremely few. In eastern Transylvania, the border must have been similar, nearby the forts line being identified here and there towers, but for now, without a man-made defence line, smaller fortifications not being discovered. By the exit from the mountains, southwards, the border was set on the Olt line, flowing into the Danube, characterised by small forts and fortifications. For short time spans, likely under Hadrian, then starting with Caracalla, a man-made 235 km long line was used, from the Danube to the mountains (Bran gorge), made up of an earthen rampart, lying at a variable distance of 10-50 km east the Olt. Unfortunately, the border is poorly preserved today. At 10-50 m behind the rampart were identified timber watch towers. Behind this line lay 12 fortifications, of which four double, located at a small distance from it. The route of the western border is unclear, watch towers not being identified south the fort at Bologa, with one exception. That is why the limes route is only supposed on the line of the fortifications from the extreme west of the province, which in fact corresponds approximately to the main axis of Dacia, the imperial road from Drobeta to Porolissum.

Thus we note at least seven different types of limes:

- Banat – from the Danube upwards – imperial road monitored by auxiliary forts – up to Micia. It is possible that in the Banat Plain had existed man-made earth barriers, however, this is not certain yet.

- the Apuseni Mountains – only one burgus and the settlements in the gold mining area are known.

- Bologa-Tihău – hill area – complex limes – towers, rampart, wall, forts, small fortifications.

- Tihău-Livezile – similar to the preceding, earthen rampart or stone wall unidentified.

- Livezile-Brețcu (Olt) – mountain area – forts, towers, rampart reported in one area (Câmpu Cetății, 10 km east the fort at Călugăreni and 11 km north Sărățeni).

- the Olt line surveilled by smaller or larger forts.

- Limes Transalutanus – a proper limes similar with that in Britannia and Germania – man-made earthen rampart surveilled by small and medium-sized forts.

Still from the Roman border system on the territory of Romania, yet from another province (Moesia), are also part the fortifications mostly lying on the Danube line or between limes transalutanus and the Danube.

Small part of the limes is visible, although it was not yet fully researched. The man-made line of towers and sometimes stone walls from Transylvania survived best, on a distance of approximately 350 km, especially in the northern, north-western sectors of ca. 50-60 km, generally in state property, due to its location on hilltops and in forests. The situation of the forts behind these defence lines is partially clarified. In only ca. 20% of the cases the land is in state property, therefore safe from the dangers of the inherent agriculture practice. Nevertheless, only the proper forts are in general object of this public property, related settlements being further in private property. In fact, they are nowhere clearly delimited.

harta FRE


The registration of the Roman border crossing various countries was a joint objective, a trans-national Frontiers of the Roman Empire (FRE) monument being established in 2005. The goal of the LIMES programme is to draw up the documentation regarding the monuments composing the Roman border from Romania, the largest unitary heritage monument in the country, contributing with the longest sector, of over 1000 de km, to the unique UNESCO monument “Frontiers of the Roman Empire” (FRE). Most of the archaeological sites lie in rural areas, hence many are well preserved.

The research of the Roman border started in the 19th century, extensively carried out in the 1970’ies. Nevertheless, currently, the monuments composing the Roman border are not topographically mapped, yielding little archaeological information though.

The theme study which must be drafted and the propositions for the tentative national list suppose a comprehensive documentation for the draft of a list of monuments to be included, based on criteria also applied by the other European states and adapted to regional specificities, on the tentative UNESCO list. The documentation of these monuments, given the nature of the sites in Romania, is very difficult, hence the programme development under optimal conditions is key.

The known monuments which compose limes dacicus and those on the Danube line and Muntenia, which had been part of the province of Moesia, are rather numerous, however, they will be definitely enriched with other new as they are recorded. Fortifications with legionary or auxiliary troops in garrison, usually lie in valleys, close to most accessible communication routes, the border line being advanced by ca. 5 km, composed of towers and small fortifications. The latter are set in a varied background, commonly close to the tops of the highest hills. The auxiliary fortifications do not lie precisely on the border line, but at a distance of ca. 5 km behind the border. These must have been the specificities of the northern border (from Bologa - Cluj county to Orheiul Bistriței) and likely of that from east Transylvania, farther, southwards, up to Brețcu (Covasna county). In the west instead, the border line seems to have been made on the line of the imperial road (current road Orșova-Caransebeș-Hațeg-Alba-Iulia-Turda), without yet an identified tower line in front the important forts. The single outposts lie in the gold mining area of the Apuseni Mountains.

In the south-eastern side, the border is set on the Olt valley, with the features of a riverine frontier, while for a short while, on a 5-30 km line (Eartern ramapart) east the Olt starting from Râșnov (Brașov county) to Ciuperceni (Teleorman county) on a ca. 200 km distance. The latter, functions discontinuously in the first half of the 2nd century and early 3rd century AD. In the rest of the periods, the functional border was that on the river.

Except the fortifications on the Danube line, there are also a few other important forts between the future limes transalutanus and the Danube, which had belonged under Trajan to the province of Moesia.


[ii] The remains of the Roman borders of the province of Dacia, are, together with the limes Germanicus, Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall, the most significant elements of the Roman borders present in Europe. The forts, burgi, towers, ramparts, walls, beside the connected infrastructure and civil settlements evidence an important exchange of human and cultural values, at the climax of the Roman empire, by the development of the Roman military architecture, extending the constructional technical and management knowledge to the edges of the empire. These structures mirror a complex border system imposed to existent societies starting from the northern side of the Roman empire, introducing firsthand military installations and civil dependent settlements connected by an extended infrastructure network. The Roman borders were not an impenetrable barrier, but they controlled and allowed the movement of the populations: of not only the military troops, but also of the civilians and traders. Thus, they triggered the exchange of cultural values by the displacement of soldiers and civilians of various ethnicities. This led to deep changes and developments in affected regions, in terms of human inhabitancy, architecture and landscaping habits in one word, the organisation of the surrounding space. Even today, Roman borders are an obvious part of the landscape.

[iii] As integral part of the general defensive system of the Roman empire, the Dacia limes has an extraordinary cultural value. It is an incontestable evidence of the maximum extension of the power of the Roman empire, by the enforcement of its northern border, a physical expression of the Roman imperial policy. It proves the Roman empire’s ambition to rule the whole world, in order to impose its laws and lifestyle in a long term view. It is evidence to the Roman colonisation in afferent territories, of the diffusion of the Roman culture and varied traditions – military, engineering, architectural, religious, economic and political – and of the many human settlements associated to state defence, which contribute to the understanding of the life of the Roman soldiers and their families in this part of the empire.

[iv] The Dacian limes is a remarkable example of Roman military architecture, of the constructional techniques and their evolution, accomplished by the engineers of the time, over several generations. It proves the variety and sophistication of the Roman’s answer to the specific topography and climate, or to the political, military and social circumstances from the northern part of the empire, which are also found in the entire European side of the empire, thus impacting most later developments in this part of the world.