Sunday, 20 August 2017

Macedonia: Archaeological Excavations of Justiniana Prima Continue near Skopje   
4 February 2009 | Excavations at the Gradishte archaeological site near the village of Taor, continue to unearth findings that shed light on the Early Byzantine fortified settlement and birthplace of Emperor Justinian I.

“A number of coins, jewellery, ceramic bowls, weapons, tools and other artefacts have been unearthed at Taor,” archaeologist Kire Ristov of the Museum of the City of Skopje who has headed the systematic excavations of the site since 2000 told the Vecher newspaper recently.

He added that a part of the wall surrounding the settlement, two buildings and parts of public structures were also defined last year. Another major find was the monogram, or Justinian I seal, along with parts of capitols with inscribed elements of Early Christian motifs that were first used in a public building.

Later renamed from Tauresium to Justiniana Prima in honour of Emperor Justinian I (527-565), the Early Byzantine fortified settlement’s ruins are located 20 kilometres southeast from present-day Skopje.

Procopius of Caesarea, a biographer of the Emperor who is considered to be the last major historian of the ancient world, wrote in his composition “De aedificiis” (“For buildings”):

“Somewhere in the area of European Dardanians, who live behind Epidamnian border, close to castle Baderiana (the present-day village of Bader), was found the village Tavrisi (the present-day village of Taor). Here was born king Justinian, founder of world kingdom. Surrounding this village with square walls and building tower on each corner, he created four corner castles and named it Tetrapirgus.”

Archaeologists are still waiting to find out the amount of funds that they will have at their disposal in order to determine the time and scope of the continuing excavations, Ristov said, adding that there are hopes of locating a church at the site this year.

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