The investigations in Stobi in 2012 were financed by the Government of R. Macedonia and carried on five locations: the Temple, the Theatre, the Episcopal Basilica, the West Necropolis and the Semicircular Court. 

2012

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The excavations in the temple area continued to the north and south of the building. The north side (in front of the steps of the temple) yielded the most significant discovery. Many architectural elements of the building were found on a use level from the 5th century. Besides the pediment and architrave blocks, an oversized marble sculpture of Isis was unearthed, revealing the deity to whom the temple was devoted. The sculpture was found almost 40 years after the discovery of an inscription that mentions a sacrum Isidi in Stobi. The head and the hands of the goddess are not preserved, while the rest of the sculpture exceeds the length of 2 metres. Judging by the style and the resemblance with the Isis in the Capitoline museum, it probably belongs to the Hadrianic era. The altar was found just below the sculpture, on the original use level of the temple. Two bases for statues or inscriptions were found to the west of the steps. A sacrificial pit with several ceramic flasks was found on the south side, in front of the entrance to the subterranean chambers. The extraordinary find of a glass relief bowl with scenes from the life of Achilles is one of the most significant discoveries at Stobi from the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 5th century.

 

The excavations of the Theatre were focused on the eastern half of the ima cavea. The goal was to explore the space between the radial walls, in order to understand the process of construction and prepare the area for conservation. Red lines and roman numerals were discovered on the walls, marking the sequences of construction and the successive deposit of soil between them in order to create an artificial terrace. The central radial corridor and the two rooms on each side of the corridor were excavated as well. These parts of the theatre were used during the late antiquity and were incorporated in the newly built houses. The most significant discovery is that the two rooms to the east and west of the radial corridor served as exits with stairways that led to the central box of honor.

 

The layers below the nave of the Old Episcopal Basilica were excavated in order to reveal the history of the area and prepare the terrain for a new bedding of the mosaic which is removed due to conservation. Layers with material from the Late Hellenistic and Augustan period reveal that in a certain period of time there were modest houses which were leveled before the Old Basilica was constructed. No remains were found that will indicate the existence of domus ecclesiae before the church.

 

The rooms of the complex surrounding the Semicircular Court, to the west of the Episcopal Basilica, revealed material from the second half of the 6th century. Judging by the finds it could be presumed that they mainly served as workshops and stores in the last years of the existence of Stobi. This area was also excavated during the international field school organized by Balkan Heritage Foundation and NI Stobi. More than 30 students from different countries of the world participated in the project.

 

47 graves were excavated at the Western Necropolis. The most interesting discovery is the grave of a soldier from the 1st century BC. The deceased was buried with his iron spear, wooden shield with a bronze conical umbo and an iron dagger. Among the finds there was a small bronze application with an eight rayed star.

 

During 2012, six projects for conservation and restoration were conducted. They were financed by the Ministry of Culture, the Government and the international workshop for mosaic conservation and restoration.

 

The final stage of the project for conservation of the House with a Triclinium was initiated in March. During this and the following month, the floors of the triclinium and the both courts of the house were conserved. Most of the broken tiles from the floor in the triclinium were removed and replaced with mortar copies which are more sustainable to the weather conditions. The old tiles are stored and will be possibly placed back after the construction of a roof over the building. The floors in the courts were conserved with the original material (sandstone slabs) and the usage of extended mortar. The rest of the floors in the house, made of beaten earth, were covered with plastic and sand that will prevent the growth of plants.

 

The vault, the steps and parts of the walls of the Temple of Isis were conserved and partially restored during June and July. The damaged niche in the second underground chamber was conserved and the damaged parts were reconstructed as well. During the conservation, the original stone was used and bonded with extended mortar.

 

The final stage of the project for conservation of the 5th-6th century mosaic from the triclinium in the House of Peristeria was realized in May. The mosaic pieces with replaced hydraulic mortar bedding were set on their original position and arranged around the reconstructed fountain, located in the middle of the triclinium.

 

The project for conservation of the mosaic from the narthex in the Episcopal Basilica started with the removal of the mosaic from its original position. The backside of the arbitrary pieces was cleaned and they will be placed in new mortar bedding during 2013.

 

The mosaic in the third room to the west of the perystyle in the Theodosian Palace was conserved and placed on aluminum honey comb panels. The pieces were set on their original position without being incorporated in mortar bedding. This allows the possibility to remove the mosaic without damaging, in order to investigate the layers below. The conservation project was part of the international workshop for conservation and restoration of mosaics organized by Balkan Heritage Foundation and NI Stobi.

 

Preventive conservation was done to the mosaics from the Synagogue and the south aisle of the Episcopal Basilica. These pieces were removed from their original positions and conserved during the 70s. This year, the loose edges and tesserae were affixed in order to prevent further damaging. 

 

The large marble kantharos from the Baptistery of the Episcopal Basilica was discovered in the 70s and conserved at that point. During the 80s or the 90s, probably by an accident related to movement of the object, it was broken to pieces. In 2012 it was re-conserved and exposed as part of the temporary exhibition of the frescoes from the Old Episcopal Basilica in the gallery of the National Bank.

 

A workshop for conservation and restoration of Roman pottery was organized during June by the Balkan Heritage Foundation and NI Stobi which included the participation of international students and volunteers.

 

Besides excavations and conservation, the NI Stobi and the National Bank of Macedonia opened the exhibition “Early Christian Wall Paintings from the Episcopal Basilica at Stobi”. The exhibition was followed by a small publication on the frescoes and their conservation. The exhibition is a result of the project for conservation of the wall paintings financed by the USA Embassy in R. Macedonia.

 

The traditional exhibition “Archaeological Macedonia” was opened at the Museum of Macedonia on the 29th of December.  The exposed artifacts from Stobi were discovered in 2012 and the campaign in 2011.

 

The NI Stobi released the call for submission of papers for the 4th volume of the Studies in the Antiquities of Stobi which is expected to be out of print in September 2013. As supplement of the journal, NI Stobi will publish monograph series of which “Inscriptiones Stoborum” by Slavica Babamova is the first volume. The book was printed in December 2012 and its official promotion will be in the first half of 2013.

 

The organization and the activities of NI Stobi were presented at the Summer school for Museology in Piran (R. Slovenia) and the international symposium “Archaeological Heritage – its Role in Education, Presentation and Popularization of Science” held at Viminacium (R. Serbia). The discovery of the glass bowl with scenes from the life of Achilles was presented at the 19th conference of the International Association for the History of Glass (AIHV), held in Piran.

 

As a result of the invitation from the US Embassy in Skopje, the director of NI Stobi participated in the International Leadership Program “Cultural Heritage Preservation”. The program included lectures and visiting of sites and museums in several US cities.

T-Pas

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