The Texas Foundation for Archaeological & Historical Research
TFAHR Photo Album - 2010 Excavations at Bylazora (Sveti Nikole), Republic of Macedonia.
|Click on photo to enlarge.
|Once we discovered the temple stones in Sector 6, TFAHR moved the team to
expand the trenches around the temple stones.
In 2008 TFAHR uncovered parts of a propylon (monumental gateway) leading up
through the acropolis defensive walls to the summit of the acropolis. In 2009 and
2010 we finished clearing all the remaining parts of the propylon: two flanking
entrance towers, an inclined ramp, an inner gate and threshold, and a rectangular
|Uncovering the first of the "temple
stones" in the exploratory trench.
2010 Excavations in Sector 3 of the Acropolis
|The Propylon on the
|Orientation tour for the 2010
- Rectangular room
- Inclined ramp
- Towers (east tower
Excavating alongside the ramp, where the eastern
tower had been quarried away in antiquity, we
uncovered an early defensive wall of the acropolis of
Bylazora that existed before the propylon was
constructed. The remains of a small altar were also
discovered beside this wall.
|Much of the propylon was quarried away in ancient times. This season we
discovered, well beneath the floor level of the rectangular room, the unrobbed
foundations of the wall on the east side of the propylon.
|The discovery of the inner wall of
the casemate wall of the acropolis.
|At the end of the 2009 season, we
cleared the walls of a massive
Second Squatter Period building,
which was built atop the ruins of
earlier structures. In the 2010
season we began excavating beneath
the floors of this late building.
|The walls of the later building were
built directly on top of a number of
pithoi (large storage vessels) from
an earlier period.
|A drain from an earlier era was
discovered running beneath the
walls of the later building.
|About half a meter beneath the Second Squatter Period walls we uncovered several
rows of stones aligned in a peculiar upright fashion. They seem to be part of a
collapsed wall from an earlier period. We began systematically dismantling a section
of this collapsed wall, but the season ended before we were able to ascertain the
exact nature of the structure.
|Under the Second Squatter Period
walls we excavated a room whose
walls were made of packed clay
and mud brick.
2010 Excavations in Sector 6 of the Acropolis
In 2008 and 2009 we had uncovered triglyph and metope stones re-used
in the Second Tower and in a First Squatter Period building, indicating
that a temple (most likely) had fallen into ruins somewhere on the
acropolis and its stones were reused. We had hoped that the propylon
might lead into the temple precinct, but, rather, it merely opened onto a
large public area. But the very building of a structure like a propylon
suggests that it was oriented and aligned to something important. So we
sighted directly up the middle of the propylon, then across the open area,
then across the acropolis.
A narrow trench was excavated more than fifty meters
following this alignment (towards Sector 6). Interestingly
enough, almost nothing ancient was uncovered in this
exploratory trench: we discovered modern churned-up
debris from when the site was private farmland, then
fairly sterile undisturbed ancient soil with just a few
potsherds and roof tile fragments, and then the sandy
gravel that is the subsoil of the plateau of Bylazora. This
means that the center of the acropolis was a large open
area and that the buildings are going to be found along
the fortified periphery of the acropolis.
|Measuring and drawing the
As we started clearing the dirt from around the temple stones, we made two important discoveries: first, all of the stones had been cut
up to be burned down in a lime kiln; second, the temple stones were part of a massive ancient pit that included not just the stones, but
roof tiles, terracotta and stone vessels, as well as animal and human remains.
Beneath the temple stones, we uncovered some
very large walls that we thought might be the
stereobate (leveling) course of the temple. Our
next task was to try to find the dimensions of the
foundation of the temple.
Left: Clearing what may be the stereobate level.
Right: This might be the southeast corner of the
We expanded our excavation area beyond the temple stones towards an old trench that,
according to the local villagers, had been dug by the Yugoslavian army for training maneuvers in
1983. The army had hit upon the foundation of an ancient structure when they dug that trench.
In 2010, we concluded that what the Yugoslavian army had uncovered was part of the western
acropolis wall of Bylazora.
Workmen from Knezje and
Sveti Nikole explaining the
layout of the trenches from
1983. In fact, we discovered
bullet casings and food tins
exactly where they told us
the trenches had been dug.
As we opened more trenches in Sector 6, we found
that this part of the acropolis defensive wall was
much better preserved than that in Sector 3. In
Sector 6 the extant wall was more than three
meters thick in some parts and still standing to a
height of almost 3.5 meters.