Situational plan of Ratiaria with presumably shape of the fortress and locations of the new-found sites
Click on the map to see details

Leveling up the treasure-hunter's holes and removal from the site area of epigraphic and architectural monuments

The rescue excavations at the site "Kaleto" near the village Archar - ancient Colonia Ulpia Traiana Ratiaria were conducted from 21.10.2010 to 25.11.2010 in accordance with the order of Minister of Culture № RD 9K-0202/11.10.2010 to ensure a safe area in Municipality Dimovo and organize the preservation and exhibition of cultural monuments from the territory of Ratiaria. The rescue studies were conducted under the direction of Krassimira Luka (permission for rescue archaeological survey № 355/21.10.2010) and in the presence of Plamen Ivanov - Regional inspector for Northwestern Region in the "General Inspectorate for Protection of Cultural Heritage" Ministry of Culture. The financial support for these activities was provided by Municipality of Dimovo and private sponsors: Stanislav Stanchev (Metal Trans), Alexander Georgiev (BULPLAST) and Irena Alexandrova.

During the rescue excavations of the ancient town Colonia Ulpia Traiana Ratiaria were taken the following actions:

1. Detailed view of whole territory of which are registered cultural monuments in locality "Kaleto".

2. Collection and documentation of archaeological materials, respectively pottery, coins, metal artifacts and more.

3. Checking the condition of the excavated and preserved till 1991 architectural remains of fortification system and public buildings.

4. Backfilling of trenches and leveling up the terrain in the southeast sector of locality "Kaleto".

5. Documentation of epigraphic and architectural cultural monuments.

6. Removal from the terrain and exposure of movable cultural monuments.

Preliminary results:

1. Examination of the site "Kaleto" showed that the treasure hunters intervention has affected an area with a length of about 2 km. (East - west) and a width 1 km. (North - south), which covers entirely determined by the Protocol from 20.4.1994 borders and security area of the site. Some of the treasure-hunter's holes reached a depth of 10 meters and discovered the remains of many buildings and architectural details which are observed over the entire area of the site. Were documented the locations of 38 movable cultural monuments, including ornate bases and capitals, columns, cornices, parts of tombstones, sarcophagi, etc.

2. In the sectors studied until 1991 the preserved remains are not affected by treasure-hunters intervention. Around them, however, illegal excavations are discovered parts of buildings, which must be examined by rescue excavation.

3. The leveling up of the treasure-hunter's holes in the southeastern sector of "Kaleto" discovered remains of building with large dimensions and impressive architectural elements (3 capitals and base of column) richly decorated, dating from the beginning of 2nd century.

4. During the surveying of the site as well as during the leveling the terrain were collected extensive archaeological material, including pottery with stamps of the manufacturer, 80 coins, metal artifacts, pieces of flooring and wall decoration. The processing of this material shows that the treasure hunter's intervention reached and affected layers from the Early Roman period.

5. In 2010 from the territory of the archaeological site were exported and exhibited 2 epigraphic monuments and 4 architectural details. During the rescue excavations were recorded the monuments found in front of the police station, allowing the creation of a temporary exhibition in the village Archar, including 5 tombstones, 1 votive, 4 capitals, 1 cornice, 3 fragments of columns and a column base.

Building north of the Residence of the governor (№ 2)

The remains of these constructions are documented in 2010". They show a building with an apse, oriented north-south. In the walls can be seen remnants of wall heating and treasure-hunter digs are thrown away many completely preserved bricks from the building. The building is located just 30 meters north of the Residence and the plan suggests that perhaps it is a small bath.

Monumental building in the area of Big Thermi (№ 4)

In 1976 was made an aerial photograph of the ancient city Ratiaria. On this aerial photograph in the southeast end of the fortress can be seen the outlines of a huge building with a rectangular plan. To the south the building ends with three apses. Such buildings have parallels with plans of so called Imperial type baths. The dimension of this building reached 9 acres - considerably more than all known in Bulgaria antique baths, including the famous baths in Odessos (modern Varna).

In 2010 at that place were discovered and documented three monumental capitals with relief decoration dating in the time of Emperor Hadrian (early 2nd century). These capitals probably belong to some building with impressive size, as at the site into the treasure-hunter's holes can be seen well-preserved walls of thickness exceeding 1 meter.

Decumanus maximus of Ratiaria (№ 5)

The exploring of part of the central street of the city with east-west direction can be determined as the most important discovery during the renewed investigations. During the previous studies have been revealed parts of streets, but mostly relatied to the time of the 5th and 6th century. Only at the western gate was established preserved part of the original flooring with large stone slabs, dated in the early 2nd century.

According to D. Giorgetti the fortress Ratiaria originally was square shaped and later was expanded to the south by acquiring a rectangular shape with dimensions of 426 (north-south) at 284 m (east-west). The discovered in 2011 decumanus is located 500 meters east of the Western Gate, i.e. almost twice as far from the supposed 284 m width of the city. The similarity to the pavement, studied at the gate dates back the new-discovered street in the 2nd century, which shows that even at that time the city was of significant size.

Pottery kilns (№ 6)

Monumental building with well-preserved remains of hypocaust (№ 7)

In the southeastern part of the fortress and outside of the presumed limits of the fortification walls in 2011 were documented impressive remains of a large building. This building is with heating system (hypocaust), which is very well preserved. The discovery of bricks with stamp of L. Coelius Primus, dates back the building in Late Antiquity.

Remains of building in the northwestern corner of the fortress (№ 9).

The walls uncovered by treasure hunters in different parts of the fortress provide information about the location of new and unexplored buildings. Probably the constructions located over the surface can be attributed to the last period of occupation of the city.

In the northwestern corner of the fortress in 2011 were documented remains of a new building, hitherto unknown to science. The remains suggest that the building was monumental and that it follows the direction of the fortification wall. The building is located on the edge of the plateau.

Medieval settlement (№ 8)

In course of previous excavations had been found some coins dated to the 10th century but the remains of habitation from this period have not been localized. Indeed, medieval village in "Kaleto" was probably located at the place of former Archaeological base now also fully destroyed by treasure hunters. Under the layer from the late 20th century (actually concrete surface) were collected ceramic fragments belonging to the time of First Bulgarian Empire. In the vicinity and west of it, finds of other ceramic fragments show that the settlement continued to exist during the 13-14 century.