A further 400 square metres of mosaics and 65 graves have been uncovered since the beginning of the 2017 archaeological season at the site of the Great Basilica in Bulgaria’s second city Plovdiv, according to the head of the archaeological team, Evgenia Tankova.
The Great Basilica, understood to date from the fourth to the fifth centuries, is the largest early Christian church yet found on the Balkans. The site is near Plovdiv’s 19th century Roman Catholic St Ludwig church.
Tankova said that the recently-uncovered 400 sq m of mosaics were from the second period of the building.
She said that the whole complex was founded on an earlier Roman building that existed until the end of the 3rd century. Tankova also explained that all mosaics outside the building of the basilica were from the first period.
In all, it is expected that about 2000 sq m of mosaics will be uncovered in the course of the archaeological excavations at the Great Basilica site, which by the end of 2018 will see the completion of a visitors’ centre, part of an overall restoration and display project receiving 8.2 million leva funding from the America for Bulgaria Foundation.
The street adjoining the Roman Catholic church is to be pedestrianised as part of the transformation of the site.
Speaking at the 56th National Archaeological Conference, being held for the first time in Plovdiv, municipal council chairperson Savina Petkova, the concept of the creation of a natural connection between the archaeological underpass and the Episcopal Basilica is being developed.
The idea is to create a link between the Roman Forum, which is on the northern side of the central post office, and the Small Basilica, she said.
(Photo of work to uncover and restore mosaics at Plovdiv’s Great Basilica in 2016: podtepeto.com)