The Texas Foundation for Archaeological & Historical Research
TFAHR Archaeology Projects
|Click on photo to enlarge.
This season we followed the paved ramp south and uphill on the acropolis. The ramp appears to be part of a propylon (monumental gate
complex), leading to a pebbled roadway which leads further up the acropolis hill. A number of well-preserved buildings flank this road. Their
exact function is, as yet, unknown. The discovery of certain re-used architectural fragments (a triglyph and metope) leads us to believe that a
temple in the Greek style may be located somewhere nearby on the acropolis. From the evidence uncovered this year, it seems that the
acropolis of Bylazora was terraced, the buildings of the acropolis having been constructed on different levels following the ancient topography
of the hill.
In July of 2008 Mr. Aleksandar Danev, Director of the People’s
Museum of Sveti Nikole, invited Mrs. Eulah Matthews and Dr. William
Neidinger, of the Texas Foundation for Archaeological Research
(TFAHR), to return for a second season of archaeological excavation
at the site near Knezje village, which is widely believed to be the
ancient Paionian city of Bylazora.
The ancient literary sources refer to Bylazora as the largest of the
Paionian cities and as one of the greatest fortified centers of the
Paionians. The Paionians were the people who inhabited the Vardar
/ Axios River Valley before their conquest by the Macedonians in the
sixth to fourth centuries BC. The Paionians were sometimes subjects
of the Macedonians, sometimes allies of the Macedonians, and
sometimes enemies and free of the Macedonians. The ancient free
Paionian Kingdom was finally conquered by the Macedonians, Celts,
Dardanians, and then Romans in the third and second centuries BC.
Bylazora was destroyed at that time.
The most significant find of the 2008 season was the discovery of a
large paved ramp leading up to the acropolis of Bylazora. It entered
the acropolis through a solidly built wall which defended the
acropolis. The work of the 2009 season was to expand upon the
discoveries of the previous season.
|A hearth of the Second Squatter
Period (6th Period).
|A well-preserved building was
uncovered east of the ramp.
A great deal of ancient pottery was discovered in
both seasons. Most of the pottery is local Paionian
pottery. But we have also unearthed a large quantity
of pottery imported from ancient Macedonian and
Greek cities, like Athens. Analysis of this pottery will
eventually help us better understand the trade
relationships between the Paionians, Macedonians,
|Excavating burned material
under the propylon.
|In its southern extension the ramp became a pebbled roadway.
2nd Period. Propylon: The ramp-propylon was built cutting through the defensive wall of the acropolis, and a smaller Second Tower was built
flanking the entrance to the ramp. There may also have been a rebuilding of a section of the acropolis wall at this time.
3rd Period. Destruction: Bylazora was attacked and this section of the city badly destroyed.
4th Period. First Squatter Period: People moved into the ruins of the acropolis, using some of the better surviving walls of the older buildings,
including the still-standing remnants of the ramp-propylon.
From the work of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, we have been able to establish a
tentative relative chronology for this section of the acropolis of Bylazora.
1st Period. Pre-Propylon: The ramp-propylon has within it stones that appear to
have been taken from earlier buildings. Soundings have revealed a massive
destruction layer beneath the propylon. The remnants of a large First Tower in the
acropolis defensive wall may belong to this period. Other scattered structural remains
on the acropolis are from a similar early period.
|Wattle and daub wall built into the
remains of the ramp-propylon
|A terracotta wine press was built
into the remains of an earlier
building in the 6th Period.
|Triglyph and metope, perhaps from an as-yet undiscovered temple.
5th Period. Abandonment: A great deal of fairly sterile soil accumulated over the ruins of the area, indicating little to no habitation at this time.
6th Period. Second Squatter Period: People laid down a layer of pebbles and sand over parts of the site and re-built, still using some of the
earliest surviving buildings or quarrying away and using stones from the more badly damaged ones.
7th Period. Destruction: early 2nd century BC: The small buildings of the Second Squatter Period are destroyed and Bylazora is abandoned.
|A FULL DESCRIPTION OF THE STRATIGRAPHY AND
CHRONOLOGY WILL BE PROVIDED IN THE 2009
REPORT, AVAILABLE IN OCTOBER 2009.
June - July 2009. Bylazora (Sveti Nikole), Republic of Macedonia.
Click on plan to enlarge.
|The stone ramp (A) ascending the acropolis was the
main feature of the propylon. The foundations of a
small square Second Tower (B) can be seen in the
photograph above. The large mass of stones next to it
are the remains of the First Tower (C).
|Wall of a Period 1 building (left) beneath the stones of a later structure
from Period 2. A large terracotta surface (right) from Period 1 was found
beneath the walls of Period 2.