During 2013, National Institution Stobi realized 3 excavation projects as well as 8 projects for conservation and restoration of architecture and moveable finds.
The first excavation campaign in April, May and June included investigations at the Western Necropolis and the Theatre, financed through the capital projects for excavations supported by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. Besides the 13 uncovered graves, the imperative of the NI Stobi archaeologists was the street that leads from Porta Heraclea to the south. Having in mind that the graves are arranged on both sides of the street, significant information for the development and the organization of the necropolis was brought to light. The documented grave offerings included ceramic vessels, a glass vessel, many terracotta figurines and two iron strigiles.
The excavations at the theatre were concentrated in the eastern half of the central circular corridor which is 35 metres in length and 2.5 metres in width. Subject of the excavations were the habitation deposits from the Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The new interesting information is that the corridor was used as part of the dwellings erected above the theatre during the 6th century and later during the 11-12th centuries. Four secondary entrances were opened between some of the radial walls of the ima cavea in order to approach the central corridor from the newly built houses.
Two conservation workshops for pottery and mosaic took place at Stobi during June. Both projects are result of the collaboration with the Balkan Heritage Foundation from Stara Zagora. The international participants from different countries were offered a basic training for conservation and documentation. 19 Roman vessels and parts of the mosaic from the Old Episcopal Basilica were conserved during the 15 days of the workshops.
Four projects for conservation of metal objects, glass, pottery and stone objects were realized simultaneously with the other aforementioned projects. They were financed through the Annual Program for 2013 of the Macedonian Ministry of Culture. The activities resulted in conservation and preservation of 42 metal artifacts including the iron lamellar armour comprised of 322 plates and fragments (discovered in 2009, in a second half of the 6th century context of the House with a Triclinium), 41 piece of architectural decoration, among which the biggest attention is attracted by the marble reliefs of two griffins (found in the “Casino” in 2005), 22 glass vessels from the 1992 and 1995 salvage campaign at the Western Necropolis and 84 ceramic vessels mostly found in 2011 in the pottery kiln from the 1st century AD below the mosaic in the House of Peristeria.
The first stage of the project for conservation and restoration of the mosaic from the Old Episcopal Basilica was realized during June, July and August. The mosaic was removed from the original position in 1991 and the old bedding was cleaned in 1992. In 2013, the conservators applied new lime mortar bedding to 72 pieces and affixed them on aluminum honey comb panels. The project was self-financed by NI Stobi.
The second excavation project i.e. the International Field School co-organized again with the Balkan Heritage Foundation took place in August. The participants from several different countries during the two sessions (15 days each) were directly involved in the excavation and documentation process of two rooms from a 6th century building, located near the Porta Heraclea. Particularly interesting discovery were the three graves of infants, dug in the hard packed earthen floors of the both rooms.
The excavations in August and September, along the western foundation of the Temple of Isis, revealed the deposits before the construction which indicate that in the earlier period the area served for deposit of debris. Few pottery sherds from the Iron Age (7th century BC), the Classical period (4th century BC) and the Hellenistic period (3-2 centuries BC) were found among the dominant material from the 1st century AD. A large number of fresco fragments were discovered together with the 1st century pottery.
The initial phase of the project for Conservation, restoration and reconstruction of the eastern half of the ima cavea of the theatre began in October and lasted until the first days of December. The ruined parts of the radial walls, the second circular wall, as well as the vaults below the mortar bedding for the seats were conserved and reconstructed. The project was financed through the Ministry of Culture Annual Program.
The first publication of the Studies in the Antiquities of Stobi Monograph Series was promoted in October, in Kurshumli Han in Skopje. Inscriptiones Stoborum by Slavica Babamova is a corpus that offers a comprehensive overview of all known inscriptions from the ancient city.
In the period between August and November, a small EU grant was realized as part of the Ljubljana Process II. The grant supported the project for “Preliminary investigation in the Episcopal Basilica and the Baptistery” which included geo scan of the area around the basilica, chemical analysis of the mortar from the walls and laser scan documentation of the southern wall.
The retrospective exhibition “Archaeology 2007 - 2013” that includes the most interesting finds from the Republic of Macedonia between 2007 and 2013 was officially opened in December, in the City Museum of Skopje. NI Stobi exposed some of the best finds in 2013 as well as objects from the past campaigns which were conserved in 2013.