15 December 2021

Author Daniel Dumitran, 1 Decembrie 1918 University of Alba Iulia
Author Mihai Gligor, 1 Decembrie University of Alba Iulia

At the turn of a quarter of a century since nascency, the thematic issue of our review is dedicated to a central problem of the historian’s work, that is the issue of primary sources, from the perspective of new methods of research and their interpretation. By this initiative, we wanted to extend an invitation to a reflection on the current relevance of history and its opening towards the application of some new methods of investigation suggested by the general evolution of knowledge. Of course, the sources of history essentially are still texts, artefacts and facts, and their older differentiation in traditions and vestiges is still timely, implying interesting theoretical debates, but the manner in which the researchers relate to these is permanently changing. Our review, after surpassing the search from the incipient period and, in an emphasised manner, after moving on to the exclusive publishing of thematic volumes, distinguished itself through the proposal of such new perspectives of investigating the past, which imply resorting to new sources or re-evaluating the interpretations bestowed on the traditional sources. This was the reason for organising a methodological workshop dedicated to new themes, sources and methods in historical research, which took place in Alba Iulia, on June 4 of the current year, which also proposed a suitable reflection on the tendencies of the Romanian historiography of the last three decades and its perspectives. The present volume contains part of the communications presented on that occasion, although others are relevant as well, but which could not be included in the volume. Conducted in two major sections – archaeology and cultural heritage and history – the workshop mentioned created the occasion for debates on some diverse methods of research applied to the sources.

Sources, methods, historical research, reflections, perspectives

[1] Klaus Arnold, “Der wissenschaftliche Umgang mit den Quellen,” in Hans-Jürgen Goertz, ed., Geschichte. Ein Grundkurs, third edition (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, 2007), 48-51.

[2] Ex. gr., referring to the relation between history and archaeology: Ulrich Veit, “Über das ›Geschichtliche‹ in der Archäologie – und über das ›Archäologische‹ in der Geschichtswissenschaft,” accessed on 30.11.2021, upload/historisches_seminar/02urundfruehgeschichte/Publikationen_Veit/083-Veit-Archaeologie _Geschichte-TAT9-2011.pdf; from the perspective of semiotics: Sascha Weber, “Historische Quellen als indexikalische Zeichen: Zum Verhältnis zwischen Semiotik und allgemeiner Quellenkunde,” in Andreas Frings, Andreas Linsenmann, and Sascha Weber, eds., Vergangenheiten auf der Spur: Indexikalische Semiotik in den historischen Kulturwissenschaften (Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2014), 107-114, 107.

[3] Of the more recent reference studies in this field, can be mentioned: Daniel Grolimund et al., “Shedding New Light on Historical Metal Samples Using Micro-Focused Synchrotron X-Ray Fluorescence and Spectroscopy,” Spectrochimica Acta Part B, 59 (2004): 1627-1635; Almir Olovčić et al., “Chemical Analysis of Iron Slags and Metallic Artefacts from Early Iron Age,” International Research Journal of Pure & Applied Chemistry 4, 6 (2014): 859-870; Peter Vandenabeele and Mary K. Donais, “Mobile Spectroscopic Instrumentation in Archaeometry Research,” Applied Spectroscopy 70, 1 (2016): 27-41.

[4] See, for example: Monica Mărgărit and Valentin Radu, “The Use of Autochthonous Aquatic Resources in the Technologies of Gumelniţa Communities,” in Monica Mărgărit, Gaelle Le Dosseur, and Aline Averbouh, eds., An Overview of the Exploitation of Hard Animal Materials During the Neolithic and Chalcolithic (Târgoviște: Cetatea de Scaun Publishing House, 2014), 221-240; Cătălin Lazăr, Monica Mărgărit, and Valentin Radu, “Between Dominant Ideologies and Techno-Economical Constraints: Spondylus Ornaments from the Balkans in the 5th Millennium BC,” in Ana Rosa Cruz and Juan Francisco Gibaja, eds., Interchange in Pre- and Protohistory. Case Studies in Iberia, Romania, Turkey and Israel (Oxford: BAR International Series 2891, 2018), 5-21; Monica Mărgărit, Personal Adornments in the Prehistory of the Northern Danube Area: From Aesthetic to Socio-Cultural Symbol (Târgovişte: Cetatea de Scaun Publishing House, 2019).

[5] For the author’s plea regarding this direction of research, see, recently, Ileana Burnichioiu, “Building Archaeology în Romania?” [Building Archaeology in Romania?], Caietele Restaurării (2021): 162-199.

[6] We would also like to thank Mr Carsten Wilke for making the text of his presentation available.

[7], accessed on 01.12.2021.

[8], accessed on 01.12.2021. Other cemeteries included thus far in this platform originate in the Netherlands, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Spain.

[9], accessed on 01.12.2021.

[10] Carsten Wilke, “Hebrew Funerary Inscriptions from Medieval and Modern Europe: Transcultural Research Perspectives” (Video lecture, University of Alba Iulia, June 4, 2021); see also: Idem, “Medieval Hebrew Inscriptions: A European Database,” accessed on 01.12.2021,; Idem, “Medieval Hebrew Inscriptions: Towards a European Database,” Jewish Studies at the CEU VII (2009-2011): 147-172.

[11] See Arguing with Digital History working group, “Digital History and Argument” (white paper, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, November 13, 2017), accessed on 01.12.2021,, and, more recently, Stephen Robertson and Lincoln Mullen, “Arguing with Digital History: Patterns of Historical Interpretations,” J. Soc. Hist. 54, no. 4 (2021): 1005-1022, and the articles of Rachel Midura and Leonardo Barleta, published in the special section “Arguing with Digital Histories” of the same volume.

[12] “Visual Culture, Piety and Propaganda: Transfer and Reception of Russian Religious Art in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean (16th - early 20th century)” (RICONTRANS), project funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, principal investigator Dr Yuliana Boycheva (Institute for Mediterranean Studies – FORTH, Greece),, accessed on 01.12.2021. See also the previous volume edited by Yuliana Boycheva, Routes of Russian Icons in the Balkans (16th - Early 20th Centuries) (Seyssel: La Pomme d’Or, 2016), and, concerning the project, “The RICONTRANS Project: ERC Consolidator Grant 2018,” Museikon 3 (2019): 189.

[13], accessed on 01.12.2021;, accessed on 01.12.2021. See also Wilfried Ehbrecht, ed., Städteatlanten. Vier Jahrzehnte Atlasarbeit in Europa [Städteforschung, Reihe A, vol. 80] (Köln, Weimar, Wien: Böhlau Verlag, 2013).