George Cupcea, Romania

Portrait Geroge Cupcea © OeAD / Cavallotti
  • Current Employment: Deputy Director, National Museum for Transylvania's History, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
  • Scholarship: Ernst Mach Grant worldwide
  • Duration: 10/2017–06/2018
  • Motto: "We are young, we have time..."

Curriculum Vitae

Since 2017, George Cupcea has been working at the National Museum for Transylvania's History, in Cluj-Napoca, the oldest and largest history museum in Transylvania, as a deputy director. In this position, he coordinates the activity of several departments, as that of Archaeology, History, Heritage and Restoration. The team he is a part of is currently working on reopening the permanent exhibition of the museum after a decade's absence from the local and regional cultural stage. George Cupcea is also a post-doc researcher at the University Babes-Bolyai of Cluj-Napoca, working there since he got his PhD, in 2011. In that department, his work spread into two research directions: archaeology – excavations in important sites of Roman Dacia (Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, Bologa, Carnuntum etc.), non-invasive geophysical explorations of archaeological sites (GPR, magnetometer, resistivity); and classical studies – military history, Latin epigraphy, in continuation to my work subjects from the time of the university and PhD studies. The National Museum for Transylvania's History has a long standing relationship with the University of Vienna, especially the Institut für Alte Geschichte und Altertumskunde, Papyrologie und Epigraphik. Last year, a ERASMUS+ project on archaeological excavations in Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, the capital of the Roman province of Dacia, just finished and later this year, they plan to apply for EU research funds, together, in the framework of the ERC programme. Last year and ongoing, George Cupcea has been working as a research assistant at the Nicolaus Kopernicus University in Torun, Poland, in the framework of a non-invasive research project on the Dacian frontier. At the same time, he is coordinating the efforts of Romanian cultural institutions to enlist the Roman frontier of the province of Dacia in the UNESCO World Heritage List.


I first became accustomed to Austria during my second year as university student, in 2002 by participating at the archaeological excavations in Carnuntum Zivilstadt, where I returned in 2005 and 2007. I found it the perfect place for research in classical humanities, as the country and its institutions have a long-term tradition in this area. During my PhD studies, I visited Austria in no less than six research stages, at Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut and Institut für Alte Geschichte. Since then, as a post-doc, I visited the Institut für Alte Geschichte on three more research stages. During all these research trips, I found always very welcoming hosts, impressive libraries and e-resources, and kind people. Some of them provided me also with a home, and to them I will be always grateful. In regard to colleagues, I always appreciated the open doors, the availability, the cosmopolitan spirit and the wish to overpass the linguistic barrier. My coordinating researcher, Prof. F. Mitthof was always a permanently available and most-gracious host, a real teacher, and a true mentor. Not last, the OeAD and the OeAD Wohnraumverwaltung were always open, helpful and eager to find simple and efficient solutions to my needs. My studies in Austria, culminating with the Ernst Mach grant, contributed vitally to the completion of my PhD thesis, in 2011, to the editing and publication of several scientific papers in important international journals and, most recently, to my 'dream' of studying several of the most important Latin inscriptions in Dacia, if not the entire Roman Empire. Austria in general, and Vienna in particular, helped me to become a real European citizen. The city's hospitality and civilization is something that the entire world is envying and it provided me with a much-needed second home. Work and leisure here are always pleasant, the city and country offer the means to live a decent and comfortable life and to be efficient and relaxed at the same time. Most of all, it is a 'cultural place' and it charges you with these values, after each walk through Vienna and its culture you feel smarter, more 'human' and in sync with the world. I would like to take home with me the Austrian spirit of life and work, to be able to contribute with what I have learned here to the development of Romania as a 'young' democratic state, in its organic, European environment. In particular, I would like to use my personal connections with the Austrian academic and cultural milieu to facilitate common cultural events (exhibitions, presentations) or collaborative research projects. Coming from Northern Transylvania, I always felt that we share a common culture and a common past, I felt always welcome and I will always be eager to return, for either work or leisure.