The goals

The purpose of the survey was to collect complementary data which would allow to reconstruct features of the past and present landscape (both natural and cultural). It was known the principal part of the canabae lay to the west of the military base (Tomas, 2011, 61, figs. 2 and 3; Tomas, 2012). Pre-Roman and 1st-century AD finds have been recorded also to the east of the legionary defensive walls (Čičikova, 1980, 62; Димитров et al., 1967, 139–140). A second civil settlement (presumed vicus) situated some 2–3 km away to the east of the camp, at a locality called Ostrite Mogili, was investigated several times, mainly by the means of traditional field walking (Tomas, 2006).

leuga

Novae and its surroundings compared to the concept of leuga as a measure used by the Roman military (by A. Tomas)

The phenomenon of two major settlements in the surroundings of castra is known from other places. In some of them the two settlements grew up into large towns (Carnuntum, Aquincum, Apulum). In other cases only the canabae developed into important settlement (Durostorum). Our goal was to estimate the size of the canabae and the presumed vicus, to compare landscape features of both places, the finds and their chronology.

canabae Roman empire copySome major military sites in the Roman empire

A very important issue was to estimate the effects of treasure hunting and the impact of human activities on the site and in its neighbourhood, covered in a greater part by private properties. Local inhabitants use stone from several quarries in the neighbourhood, but also worked stone from the site, mainly from the canabae. The number of illegal trenches visible in many places at Novae and nearby are striking. Large parts of the site are irretrievably damaged.

canabae Novae (2) canabae Novae (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

This rapid devastation of the site was one of the main reasons for conducting the wide-area surveys, which would allow to document what survived almost two thousand years, but could have been lost within some tens.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIllegal trenches in Novae visible from the air (phot. M. Pisz)

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