Antiquity of Southeastern Europe
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University of Warsaw



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Archaeological research at Novae in the past

The site was chosen by Majewski from the Warsaw University and by D. Dimitrov from the Institute of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. They were determinated in their choice by ancient sources, as well as K. Škorpil's documented reports of remnants of defensive walls and towers. Frequent finds of ancient objects in neighboring fields and the locality name of Stâklen suggested the presence of a big and rich archaeological site. Not without importance were the discoveries made by S. Stefanov, director of the local museum, who observed traces ancient aqueducts and described the antiquities found in the stretch of land along the Danube bank from Svištov to Jantra. The collection of the municipal museum, as well as the finds that made their way to the museum in Bucuresti also testified to the importance of the settlement here. Countless spolia were observable in the walls of modern buildings in the neighborhood.

No regular excavation work, except for Stepanov's testing for the ancient water system, had been carried out at Novae before. A provisional stratigraphy of the site was obtained from a trench – dug in 1960 to accommodate a new water-supply system – that cut through the entire site from east to west. The excavations started on September 23, 1960.

From the start there were two archaeological teams, Polish and Bulgarian working at Novae, hence the provisional division of the site into eastern and western sectors. The eastern one was investigated by the Bulgarians under D. Dimitrov, the western by Poles under K. Majewski. In the first campaign three regular trenches I, II and IV, each measuring 20 by 40 m, and three probes – III, V and VI, were established. In the forty years that research has been conducted on the site, a total of twelve sectors, or closed archaeological units, has been investigated extensively. The numbers of the sectors correspond to the number of the hectare, on which the trench is located, originating from a topographical grid that was traced on the site. Although after many years of work the borders of particular hectares have been crossed, this traditional method of designating the trenches has been maintained.

Work is currently progressing in five areas. I concentrate now in my short version of lecture on sector IV.
Archaeological work in sector IV started in 1960. In the course of these investigations the settlement phases in this part of Novae have been established. Without engaging in a stratigraphic analysis of the complicated interfacing of the architectural phases and the chronology of settlement development, it may be said that there are three major building complexes in the sector: legionary with baths, another legionary one with a hospital, and a civil one appearing in the area of the abandoned valetudinarium , including buildings like the horreum , the so-called Mudbrick building and the Building of the Porticoes.

 


 
 

Ośrodek Badań nad Antykiem Europy Południowo Wschodniej UW
Krakowskie Przedmieście 32
00-927 Warszawa
novae@uw.edu.pl