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  • Serdica - Amphitheater
  • Sofia
  • Serdica, Sredets
  • Bulgaria
  • Sofia-grad

Credits

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Periods

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Chronology

  • 100 AD - 600 AD
  • 980 AD - 1150 AD
  • 1400 AD - 1800 AD

Season

    • AMPHITHEATRUM SERDICAENSE (Zharin Velichkov – zharin@abv.bg) About one quarter of the cavea was discovered. The foundations of two curved parallel walls were explored. One of them is part of the façade; the other belongs to the arena. Three radial walls forming the cunei connect the curved parallel walls. The amphitheater was built in opus mixtum. Two cunei and part of the third one were excavated. There are passages in the radial walls connecting the separate cunei. A vomitorium leading towards the arena existed in the northern part of the cavea, with a drain in the middle of the passage. The third cuneus ended with pillars and the footings of an arch, whose construction built of bricks collapsed on the ancient ground surface. The flooring consisted of bricks. The cuneus has an entrance to the east, outside the building, and radial wall that divides the cuneus in two was built at the entrance. Stone seats were placed on the vaults covering the different sectors. Coins of Maximianus date construction of the first Maeniana to the end of the 3rd century AD. During the second construction period, the cavea was widened with a probable second Maeniana. The second period is dated to the first quarter of the 4th century AD, by coins of Constantine the Great. During the second half of the 4th century AD, the amphitheater lost its functions and was abandoned and used like a quarry for building material. A dwelling and a hearth of the second half of the 5th and beginning of the 6th centuries, based on coins of Anastasius I, were explored inside the second cuneus. Dwellings of the 4th – 5th centuries, dated by bronze coins of the 4th century AD, were discovered under the stratum of the 6th century.
    • AMPHITHEATRUM SERDICAENSE (Zharin Velichkov – zharin@abv.bg) Strata of the 2nd – 3rd centuries AD were explored. Fragments of pottery, terracotta lamps, glass vessels, marble tiling, red and brown plasters, beads and slag were found. A marble statuette of Asclepius and a woman’s head from a bronze statuette were discovered. More than 40 coins were found, including sestertius minted during the reign of Claudius. Roman trade buildings and a dung-hill existed in this part of Serdica. The wall enclosing the arena of the amphitheater was discovered. Remains of the entrances to the arena were explored. The cavea was discovered. The arched double wall constructed in opus mixtum and 2.20 m in total width was traced out. The wall enclosing the arena and the arched wall were connected to each other with three radial walls constructed in opus mixtum that framed separate sectors covered with vaults. Two of the radial walls have entrances connecting the separate sectors. The earliest coins found in the amphitheater belong to Licinius I, Licinius II and Constantine I, while the latest ones were minted by Theodosius I, Arcadius and Honorius. The amphitheater stopped functioning during the second half of the 4th century AD and parts of it were reused for dwellings. Two dwellings located in the sectors of the cavea were explored. More than 40 coins of Anastasius I, Justinus I, Justinianus I, Justinus II and Phocas were found, in addition to bone plates of arches, fragmentary ceramic and glass vessels, fibulae, belt buckles and points, bone hair-combs and a medallion of Antinous minted in AD 134 – 137 that was used as a pendant during the 5th – 6th centuries AD. Two ovens and 20 coins from the end of the 10th to the first half of the 12th centuries were found in the upper strata. Buildings of the 16th – 17th centuries, ceramic and glass vessels, porcelain, terracotta tobacco-pipes and coins minted during the 15th – 18th centuries were found, too.
    • AMPHITHEATRUM SERDICAENSE (Zharin Velichkov – zharin@abv.bg) Layers of the 2nd – 3rd centuries AD were explored outside the area of the amphitheatre. They are not related to specific structures but testify to the occupation that preceded the construction of the amphitheatre. A small marble statue of Asclepius and a bronze female head of a small statue were found. More than 40 coins were also found. Five radial walls that adjoin a semicircular wall were discovered on the arena of the amphitheatre. They belonged to an earlier Roman theatre that functioned during the 2nd – 3rd centuries AD. The semicircular wall surrounded the orchestra of the theatre. Two walls, which belonged to the skene and the proskenion, were also explored. The Roman theatre was destroyed after the mid 3rd century AD, most likely during the construction of the Late Antique amphitheatre. The curve wall surrounding the arena of the amphitheatre was discovered. Three ashlars with vertical grooves were found. They were part of entrances of rooms leading to the arena. The entrances were closed with cataracts and presumably animals were kept inside the rooms. The arena and the vomitorium were discovered. A cuneus with two entrances, towards the arena and the vomitorium, was explored. The double curve wall of the cavea, constructed in opus mixtum, was discovered. The wall of the arena and the curve wall were connected through three radial walls, separating the cunei and built in opus mixtum. Entrances existed in the two radial walls. About 18 seats fallen on the arena were found. The amphitheatre was built at the end of the 3rd and the beginning of the 4th centuries AD, during the reign of Diocletian and Constantine I. During the excavations, 237 copper and bronze coins were found. The latest coins were minted by Theodosius I, Arcadius and Honorius. They show that the amphitheatre was abandoned during the reign of Theodosius I, presumably in AD 394.
    • AMPHITHEATRUM SERDICAENSE (Zharin Velichkov – zharin@abv.bg) Embankments from the Roman period were discovered to the north of the amphitheater of Serdica, close to Via Diagonalis from Serdica to Philippopolis. The embankments contained c. 620 coins, a gold earring, a small gold plate, a silver appliqué of the 3rd century AD and a small lead votive plate showing the Danubian Horsemen. Inhumation burials of four children from 4 to 14 years old and two men, 20 and 25 years old, dated to the 4th – 6th centuries AD and the Middle Ages were explored. The northern, outer face of the wall surrounding the arena of the amphitheater was discovered. It cut an earlier wall, probably the corner of the scaena of the Roman theater. A stone pavement probably belonging to the orchestra of the theater was discovered. The foundations of the wall of the arena of the amphitheater were built of uneven stones bonded with mortar. The wall, 1.30 m wide, was constructed in opus mixtum of bricks and boulders bonded with mortar. It was preserved up to 1.65 m in height. There were two buttresses, 1.30 m wide, situated at c. 4 m from each other and supporting the northern curve of the wall of the arena. The eastern jamb of an entrance to the arena, c. 1.40 m wide, was discovered. The jamb was built of bricks. The entrance had a stone threshold with a groove for the door. The finds included 25 commercial lead seals of the 3rd – 5th centuries AD, four exagia of the 4th – 6th centuries AD, 1900 coins, including an as of Commodus, a denarius of Septimius Severus, 12 Roman provincial bronze coins from the first half of the 3rd century AD, 105 billon and copper antoniani minted from AD 238 to 282, belonging to Gallienus, Claudius Gothicus, Aurelian, etc., and at least 1365 bronze coins of the 4th century AD, mostly belonging to Constantine the Great and his sons, Valentinian I, Theodosius I and Arcadius, six Byzantine anonymous folles of the end of 11th – 12th centuries, 28 Ottoman akçe and mangır of the 16th – 19th centuries, and copper commercial tokens of Nürnberg of the end of the 17th century.
    • SERDICA (Zharin Velichkov – zharin@abv.bg) Strata of the 3rd – 6th centuries AD were explored in the northern half of the site, close to Via Diagonalis that run from Serdica to Philippopolis. The finds included c. 620 coins, jewelry (a gold earring, a small gold plate and a silver appliqué) of the 3rd century AD and a small votive lead plate showing the Danubian Horsemen. Part of the foundation of the pavement of the orchestra of the Roman theater, situated under the Late Antique amphitheater, was discovered. Walls built in opus mixtum were explored and they belonged to the orchestra, the scaena, the proskenion, the paraskenion, the postskenion and two entrances (versulae) towards the proskenion and the paraskenion. A pavement of bricks and roof-tiles was discovered in the square room located to the east of the postskenion. Bronze coins of the end of the 2nd – 3rd centuries AD were found inside the pavement, indicating the time when the theater was built. It was probably destroyed in AD 268 – 269 during the invasion of the Goths. The semicircular wall surrounding the arena of the amphitheater was explored. The wall was built in opus mixtum and was 1.30 m wide, preserved up to 1.65 m in height. It had three buttresses, 1.30 m wide, situated at 4 m from each other. The eastern jamb of an entrance towards the arena was discovered, built of bricks with a stone threshold. The amphitheater was built in the period from AD 294 to AD 320. The finds included coins, commercial and administrative seals from the end of the 2nd to the middle of the 6th centuries AD, bronze, lead and bone jewelry, terracotta lamps, fragmentary marble veneer, fragmentary glass vessels and pottery. Pottery of the 17th – 19th centuries was also found.

Bibliography

  • No records have been specified