Are the teams of Serbian and Australian archaeologists, who are involved in archaeological digging at the Glac site near Sremska Mitrovica, on the threshold of a great discovery?
Although it began as an archaeological excavation of an ancient Roman villa, many elements now indicate that they actually found the palace of the Roman Emperor Maximilian.
In ancient times, Sremska Mitrovica (Sirmium in Latin) was called “the mother of all cities”. Although at least eight Roman emperors were born in today’s Sremska Mitrovica, thirty archaeologists are now in the location digging for remnants related to just one of them – Maximilian.
“Historical sources from the 4th century say that the Emperor Maximilian Herculeus built a palace in the immediate vicinity of Sirmium, at the place where his parents worked as farm help. Since this is the only site near Sirmium, which has exclusive royal artifacts, we think that this could be a palace that was mentioned by a historical source from the 4th century”, says Stefan Pop Lazić from the Archaeological Institute in Belgrade.
For now, archaeologists have found a valuable mosaic that was created by aristocrats, as well as the remains of the towers that indicate that the villa was well secured. However, the greatest discovery is a rather unusual stone which speaks of the fact that the Roman Emperor once lived here.
The violet porphyry was found before only in imperial mines in Egypt. Otherwise, in ancient Rome, purple was a colour only adorned or used by emperors.
Although this site was first discovered over a hundred years ago, serious research has begun only when the project was given to the team of Sydney-based Professor Richard Miles last year. The research of Sirmium, he says, is a crowning achievement of his career.
“I worked a lot in North Africa, Algeria and Tunisia, then in Rome, which was great, but I wanted to do something completely different. I’ve heard about Serbian sites, and I was especially interested in Sremska Mitrovica. Hence, I decided that this was where I want to dig out,” said Richard Miles, a professor of archeology at Sydney University.
Archaeologists want to set up an educational centre here, among other things, the idea that has already been received welcomed because the students of the Mitrovica Gymnasium come here for workshops.
The continuation of excavation hinges on funding. The archaeological site is almost entirely financed by Australia, and the state and provincial authorities’ support has been rather symbolic so far.
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