History of excavations and survey

Beginning of XVIII cent. – Italian army engineer Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli sails down the Danube from Vienna, produces schematic drawings of Novae’s ruins and few sections of the fortifications viewed from the river.

1726 – First description of Novae published in L.F. Marsigli’s Danubius Pannonico-Mysicus.

1744 – L.F. Marsigli’s work is published in French as Description du Danube.

1798 – Peace treaty between Austria and Turkey signed in Svishtov. First Latin inscription copied by a British diplomat, later published in 1817.

1825 – Latin inscriptions and bricks with a LEG I ITAL stamps from Stuklen were published, giving assumption leading to identification of Novae.

1828-1829 – Russo-Turkish war. Some inscribed stones from Novae were transported to Bucharest by the Romanian general Nicolas Mavros. The monuments are preserved in the Lapidarium of the Romanian Academy of Sciences and in the National Military Museum.

1838 – Zaharia von Liegenthal, an eminent German jurist, copies a Latin inscription from Svishtov during his voyage on the Danube and publishes it in 1940. He assumes that Svishtov is build in the place of Novae.

1845 – August Trebonianu Laurian, a Romanian historian and journalist publishes descriptions of Svishtov and information about Roman artefacts and Latin inscriptions from Novae in his work, Istriana.

1856 – Local museum formed in Svishtov with the first reading room in Bulgaria.

1868 – Description of Novae made by a French epigraphist, Erneste Desjardins, in Sur quelques inscriptions inédites de Valachie et de Bulgarie.

1872-1902 – Inscribed stones from Novae collected and published in successive volumes of Corpus Inscriptorum Latinarum.

1905 – Czech archaeologist Karel Škorpil (1859-1944) working in Bulgaria, publishes the first schematic plan and photographs of Novae.

Svistov I foto Skorpil copyThe ruins of Novae. Phot. by K. Škorpil

1920-30’s – Stefan Stefanov (1893-1978), a local history teacher surveys the ruins of Novae and the water supply system. S. Stefanov was a founder of the Aleko Konstantinov Museum in Svishtov holding some of the archaeological finds from Novae.

1960’s – On September 26th, 1960 the first Polish-Bulgarian excavations in Novae were started. The Expedition was headed by prof. Kazimierz Majewski (University of Warsaw) and prof. Dymitr Dymitrov (Archaeological Institute of The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences).

1970’s – the Expedition from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań headed by prof. Stefan Parnicki-Pudełko start excavations in Novae.

1973 – Prof. Ludwika Press (University of Warsaw) takes over the management of the Expedition run by the University of Warsaw.

1975 – Prof. Maria Čičikova as a head of the Bulgarian Expedition.

1981 – the Bulgarian expedition’s management under prof. Aleksandra Dymitrova-Milčeva.

1990’s – prof. Evgenia Genčeva as a head of the Bulgarian Expedition. The formation of the Centre of Archaeological Research of the Warsaw University  by Prof. Ludwika Press.

1998prof. Tadeusz Sarnowski heads the Expedition of the Institute of Archaeology in Novae

2012 – Beginning of a three-year survey programme Research on settlement structures near the Roman legionary fortress at Novae (Lower Moesia) using non-destructive archaeological methods lead by dr Agnieszka Tomas (Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw).


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