The Center for the Study
of the Eurasian Nomads

  More Information About the Santuri Site

  1997 Excavations Excavtions in Mongolia

La Santuri is located near the village of Rudi in the Dondusheni district, 200 km north of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. It is an extremely rich archaeological area as 70 different archaeological sites have been identified dating from the Neolithic and continuing into the Roman Period. Diverse cultures which occupied this site over millennia are related to Neolithic, the Tripolye Chalcolithic, and the Bronze Age as well as Sarmatian, Germanic, Celtic, and Late Scythian peoples.
Excavations carried out in 1969 and 1976 of the promontory fortified citadel above the Dniester River have been reassessed as a result of field exploration in 1995 and excavations in 1996.

These researches revealed two chronological horizons. The first belongs to the Middle Hallstat Period (a cultic site located along the Dniester). The second horizon dates to the first century A.D. and encompasses the fortified settlement in southeastern Europe during this time period. On a promontory overlooking the river, it is surrounded on two sides by deep canyons, and further protected by four walls with moats.

La Santuri lies within the western boundaries where the tamgas of the Sarmatian kings, Pharzoeus and Inisimeus, have been identified. Although the citadel was possibly founded by a Sarmatian princeling it shows no indications of actually having been a king's capital city.

More probably it was a trading outpost bringing wine and oil from a Roman manufacturing area up the Dniester River.

Late Sarmatian Period Cauldron

 Excavating on the promitor above the Dneister River



 Artifacts from surrounding regions are extremely rich and nicely displayed in the Archaeological Museum in Chisineau. To the right are a group of female figurines, center a beautifully decorated fired clay pot.






Female Figurines


Clay Pot


Bronze Cauldron

 Living conditions during the excavtions at La Santuri were basic with showers and simple traditional East European food. Opportunities are present for saunas in a village of Russian Orthodox Old Believers, to sample the local wines, and to mingle with friendly Moldavian, Russian, and Ukrainian populations is offered. The steppe-forest landscape is beautiful and unspoiled.