Novae – sculptural and epigraphic landscape of the central part of the legionary fortress

Principal investigators: prof. dr hab. Tadeusz Sarnowski†, dr hab. Agnieszka Tomas
Name of the site:
Novae
Country:
Bulgaria
Partner institutions:
Faculty of Archaeology University of Warsaw and the National Institute of Archaeology Bulgarian Academy of Sciences with the Museum
Type of the site:
Roman legionary camp (castra legionis), civil settlement (canabae legionis) and late Roman town.

Chronology: 1st-6th century AD

Komputerowa rekonstrukcja części zabudowy rzymskiego obozu, autor: J. Kaniszewski
Komputerowa rekonstrukcja części zabudowy rzymskiego obozu, autor: J. Kaniszewski

The large project “Novae – the heart of the legion. Socialization and exhibition of the Roman military camp and late Antique town of Novae” (situated on the lower Danube in modern northern Bulgaria), co-financed by the European Commission within the Operational Programme Regional Development, was proceeded in 2012-2013 by engineering earth and construction works accompanied by a small rescue excavation campaign in the central part of the legionary fortress, on the site of the headquarters building (principia) of the 1st Italic legion, stationed at Novae from about AD 72 to the first half of the 5th century AD. During these works and excavations of 2013 there were found more than twenty statue bases with Greek and Latin inscriptions dated to the 2nd to 5th century AD and some Latin building inscriptions. At our disposal there are at the moment also about thirty other inscribed stones, mostly published, and more than one hundred, published and unpublished fragmentary statue bronzes.

The main objective of this project is to complete documentation of newly discovered inscriptions, to improve the documentation of older finds according to current standards and to prepare their publication. It has to provide maximum information about the palaeography of inscriptions and dedication formulae, time, place, circumstances, reasons of setting up statues of gods and emperors, and sometimes even financing the monument, altars, building or its dependencies, most probable material used to create statues, their size, types of sculptural representation and in some cases even the statue’s physical appearance, names, origin, social status and rank of the dedicators, place and role of the represented deity in the camp religion and in religious cults practiced in the province of Lower Moesia and in the whole lower Danubian region.

Project title/financial support:  “In medio castrorum. Sculptural and epigraphic landscape of the central part of the legionary fortress at Novae”, NCN, OPUS 11, nr UMO-2016/21/B/HS3/00030, planned period of realization 02.02.2017 – 01.02.2021.

Publications:

  • Tadeusz Sarnowski, Novae und die legio I Italica unter Trajan und Hadrian, Archeologia 67, 2018, 57-71
  • Tadeusz Sarnowski, Statio publici portorii in Novae (Niedermoesien) und eine neue Statuenbasis aus dem Stabsgebäude der 1. Italischen Legion, Studia Europaea Gnesnensia 16, 2017, 77-86 (DOI 10.14746/seg.2017.16.5)
  • Tadeusz Sarnowski, Building the Early Christian Episcopal Complex with Inscribed Stones from the Roman Legionary Headquarters, Sacrum et profanum, Novae. Studies and Materials, vol. VI, Poznań 2018, 77-86
  • Tadeusz Sarnowski, Komendantura rzymskiego legionu w Novae. Od odsłoniętych ruin do pełnowymiarowej wizualizacji w terenie, in: Donum Cordis. Księga poświęcona pamięci Jerzego Kolendo, J. Jakubiak (ed.), Warszawa, 2019, 335–345 (org/10.31338/uw.9788323538554.pp.335-345)
  • Tadeusz Sarnowski, In medio castrorum legionis I Italicae at Novae. Preserved Remains, 3D Virtual Modelling and Full-size Visualisation on the Original Site, in: Limes XXIII. Roman Frontier Studies, Mainz 2018, 350-359
  • Tadeusz Sarnowski, udział w Międzynarodowej Konferencji Naukowej XIII. Limes Congress 2015 – Germany, 12th-23rd September 2015. Tytuł wystąpienia: Das Stabsgebäude des Legionslagers Novae. Baubestand virtuelle Idealrekonstruktion und Nachbau in Originallage.
  • Tadeusz Sarnowski, udział w Międzynarodowej Konferencji Naukowej „Roman Empire: A 21st Century Perspective… In Memoriam Geza Alföldy (1935-2011), 8-10.11.2016, Gniezno. Tytuł wystąpienia: Neues aus Novae in Niedermoesien zum illyrischen Zollbezirk.
  • Adam Łajtar, udział Międzynarodowej Konferencji Naukowej „3rd Conference on the Roman Danubian Provinces. Society and Economy, 10-15th November 2017, Wien”. Tytuł wystąpienia: New Inscriptions from Novae Referring to the Institution of pastus militum.

Other research project realised in Novae by the Faculty (former Institute) of Archaeology University of Warsaw:

Novae 2016-2021. Extramural settlement near the Roman legionary fortress at Novae (Lower Moesia) and its fate in Late Antiquity (A. Tomas)

Novae 2012-2015. Research on settlement structures near the Roman legionary camp at Novae (Lower Moesia) using non-destructive prospection methods (A. Tomas, completed)

Novae 2009-2011. The headquarters building and the fortifications (T. Sarnowski, completed)