43rd Annual Meeting – Joint Session: Architecture and Wooden Artifacts, May 14, "Analyses of the Architecture of Wooden Churches from Buzau County, Romania by Necula Elena-Theodora"

The speaker began with some general information about Romania, where more than 12,000 historical wooden churches survive, eight of which are UNESCO sites. In the north, one distinguishing feature of the churches is a bell tower atop a sharply sloping roof, for drainage due to the abundant rainfall in that area. In the drier south, there are no bell towers and the roof is lower, more in the style of a traditional Romanian house. Focusing on Buzau County (located between Moldova, Transylvania and Wallachia), most of the churches are in the northwest region, with thirty-two historic churches of particular importance. The speaker carried out in-situ investigations of these churches in the summer of 2013, and these investigations appeared to consist of archival research, visual investigation and documentation. Most of the buildings are of wood beam construction with a rectangular floor plan that follows the plan of the Orthodox Church, and include a porch at the front entrance. Many contain interior paintings on sheet metal or on wood, executed in oil (on metal) or tempera (wood). Some exterior decoration survives in the form of shallowly carved motifs. The speaker spent a few minutes presenting each church, usually showing an overall exterior photograph, a floor plan, any specific construction details that made it unique, as well as an abbreviated history of its restoration. Some images of the interior paintings were also shown. The state of conservation of the churches was not discussed, although it was a question afterwards. The speaker answered that while some of the churches are still in use, most are completely abandoned and in need of care.