COSTESTI - CETATUIE    (comuna Orastioara de Sus)
Cetatuia Hill (561m) looks like a small hill with ellipsoidal peak , partly arranged, being 160m long and 17 m wide to the South and 25m to the North which was fortified in several stages.
In a first stage, on the West, South and East sides there was erected a earthwork wall looking like a huge horseshoe meant to not allow the access from the crest making the connection with Ciocuta small hill. Its total length was about 340m in Ancient Times. Its present height is 0.50-2.50m , of course it is much lower than the initially. Inside the earthwork wall is provided with a narrow flat bottom trench resulted at the digging works required to build the earthwork wall. Along the entire sector of the Southern hillside, the trench served as road during the Ancient Times. The inner structure of the earthwork wall is very simple with two vertical pillars at places destined to prevent the land sliding.
It was also during a first stage, on the lower terrace that surrounded the plateau, that an earthwork wall was raised and its base was 6-8m wide; it was poorly preserved so far. At its upper part there were two line of 20-22cm thick pillars with 3.30m spacing and connected by means of cross-beams. Similar beams were used for the longitudinal lining obtaining thus a sort of wood cases filled with compacted earth. These wood “reinforcement” determined the significant increase of the height and thus the efficiency of the wall.
During the Ii stage, on the South and East slopes which were less steep, taking to the narrow crest that connected the Southern hills, four limestone towers were built using the Hellenistic technique.
The limestone blocks finished generally in the quarry and adjusted on site had five polished sides while the sixth side was roughly carved. They were placed one by the other, perfectly attached and forming two parallel rows. The space between the two paraments was filled with stone pieces and earth. However, until the perfect consolidation of the emplecton was performed, it exercised lateral pushing forces which could determine the parament falling. To avoid it, from place to place, troughs were dug in the blocks; such troughs were larger to the outer part and narrower at their inner part ( “dovetail” type) and the ends of wood beams were fixed there.
At the same time, there were erected also the two towers of the North side of the hill ( bordering the Ancient road winding to the fortress) and another one on the East side of the hill, on an anthropogenic terrace, near the sanctuaries.
Further on, the defending system of the fortress was improved by adding the curtain wall which unifies the three towers described above. Near tower II there was a gap where the gate was to be placed. A characteristic feature of the curtain wall consists of the seven inner abutments at 12m spacing , within the section between the towers I and II. The destination of these short walls for which location it was necessary to dig grooves in the rock at the back, has not been clearly defined. It was assumed that they constituted the support of some fight platforms although the distances between them are a little big. In case of this wall, like in the case of the other narrower wall which protected the terrace from the hill that hosted the sanctuary intra valum, there was noticed a technical construction specific feature; after two or three blocks arranged along the wall direction, there followed another one perpendicular to the wall face, fixed in the emplecton and this Hellenistic technique provided more solidity.
Inside the fortress, during the same construction stage, at the North and South ends of the ellipsoid plateau two monumental constructions were erected, namely the so –called dwelling towers.
These edifices are built using a mixed technique: their construction started using stone and the method described above, it continued at the upper part with a wall of big slightly burned bricks with earth binding. In the case of dwelling towers, it was also noticed that the blocks placed with their long side to the wall face alternated with those deeply rooted in the emplecton. The outer corners of both dwelling towers are carved presenting a vertical profile with successive double fold retreats. Here too, the cohesion between the two paraments was carried out by means of cross -ties introduced in the grooves created in the blocks. But, there was noticed a higher care for the aesthetics of the wall, and it is only rarely that the trenches are visible from outside. The height of the stone side of the towers was about 2m, and the brick part ( floor) must have been more than 3m high, and thus the total height was 5-6m. The roof was made of massive “Greek type” tiles with ribs placed on a wood structure. The ground-floor was used as storage area , the dwelling itself where some of the Dacian kings were supposed to stay, was at the upper level.
At the base of both dwelling towers there are the foundations of other constructions with stone base which, in their turn, were preceded by some wood constructions. It is difficult to say when the two older buildings had been built, because, although tempting, their dating previous to Burebista epoch, has not been grounded. On the other hand, we assumed that the monumental stairs leading to the dwelling tower II had been built before it and that it could be contemporary with the older construction.
Around the ellipsoid plateau a simple wood palisade was erected, and other simple palisades surrounded the perimeter of the two dwelling towers. As for the dating of these palisades , it should be previous to the two dwelling towers and contemporary with the monumental stairs.
The red “earthwork wall” was dated during the last construction stage, the III stage, which generally follows the route of the old earthwork wall, it turns into a “pair of tongs” in front of tower II, forming the entry. This had to be erected because during the first war between 101-102 and during the post- war period, the initial earthwork wall got much damaged like the whole fortress.
Under the rush to rehabilitate the fortress, the earthwork wall was made of red earth supplied by the surrounding fired constructions. As the works were developed in big hurry, the earthwork wall passed over the tower I. It was always then that the intra valum sanctuary was partly dismantled as well as the retaining wall above it which plinths and blocks were used to reinforce the wall and to block the wall gate near the tower II.
Inside the fortress, even since the stages I and II there were excavated two tanks and there were made several cavities in the rock and meant to recover the rainfall water which was much required in a place where no natural sources existed.
It was also on the upper plateau that there were found the vestiges of a barrack and watching tower. On the terraces arranged inside the wall enclosure, but outside, too, there were found many archaeological vestiges consisting of iron tools and weapons, construction materials, ceramics, jewelleries , import products, coins and others.
The archaeological findings confirmed the existence of four sanctuaries consisting of the limestone drums which diameter ranged between 55 and 65 cm and which were about 30cm wide. These sanctuaries are located on the four hill terraces arranged by the Dacians which were found outside the fortress yard, except for a sanctuary which was inside ( intra vallum)
Near Costesti fortress, to the South –South –West there are two fortifications which, although smaller in size, allowed the enhancement of the resistance capacity.
The first fortification is on Ciocuta, a small hill ( 580m above sea level) situated South of Cetatuie. On the peak, there is an ellipsoid plateau where there were found the foundations of two towers as well as a significant amount of iron slag indicating the existence of a workshop.