From “Scythians” to “Celts” and “Dacians”. The main cultural and chronological horizons of Iron Age Transylvania (7th – 1st centuries BC)
In terms of landscape, Transylvania is perceived as having a magical geography mainly due to the modern stories about vampires and other supernatural beings. Thus for many outsiders, it is a mythical space. At a more mundane level, it has a well-defined geography, being part of a larger area known as the eastern Carpathian Basin. The Transylvanian plateau is characterised by the presence of important mineral resources: rock salt, copper, silver and gold. The characteristic landscape, as well as the geographic distribution of natural resources, influenced the nature of human habitation, the social structure of the local communities and the strategies of control and distribution of these resources.
In general, the communities from the Great Hungarian Plain were dependent on certain resources from Transylvania (mainly salt), so the access to them was permanently negotiated, using a variety of means, with the communities from Transylvania. On the other hand, communities from the northern Pontic steppes or those from the northern Balkans were sometimes also attracted by the Transylvanian riches. As a consequence, the archaeologists are able to observe numerous connections with the areas outside the Carpathians range. These included long-distance cultural exchanges often mediated by the mobility of certain social groups.
The main scope of this paper