Site excavation in Noviodunum

Noviodunum Archaeological Project (NAP)

August 2005

Three Museum of London Archaeology Service (MoLAS) staff are currently working in Romania at Noviodunum and will be there for about 6 weeks. This is the first year of a major AHRB sponsored project which will run for 5 years.

The MoLAS archaeologists are supervising students and managing aspects of the excavation.

The NAP is directed by Kris Lockyear alongside Adrian Popescu (now of the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, formerly of the Institutul de Archeologie "Vasile Pârvan", Bucuresti) and Timothy Sly of the Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton, and in close collaboration with Victor Henrich Baumann of the Institutul de Cercertari Eco-Muzeale Tulcea.

The site of Noviodunum is situated on a small hill on the southern edge of the Danube in the Dobrogea region of Romania. The Danube now forms the border with the Ukraine in this region, but in the past it has formed the border between the Roman and Byzantine Empires and barbaricum, and between Ottoman dominated Dobrogea and Russian dominated Bessarabia.

Each has left its mark on the site with Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and 20th century defences overlying each other at this key spot, the last easy crossing of the Danube before the multitude of channels and marshes of the Danube delta. During the Roman period, not only were various Roman army units based at the site, e.g. the Legio I Iovia Scythica, it was also the base of the Roman lower Danube fleet, the Classis Flavia Moesica, later known as the Classis Ripae Scythicae.

Alongside the military installations was a large subsidiary 'civil' settlement, and an extensive cemetery. The fortress was paired with that at Aliobrix across the river, near the modern settlement of Orlovka in the Ukraine. The site is now a national archaeological reserve, and the subject of several projects.