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Following the steps of the last strong Emperor of Rome

The team of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sergey Torbatov from the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at Sofia has renewed the excavations of the Late Roman road praetorium, near the village of Granichak, Belogradchik municipality, NW Bulgaria.

Archaeologia Bulgarica is waiting for interesting news from there, because within this architectural complex, situated on about 2 000 square meters in the Anishte locality. Roof- tiles with a stamp DDNNAVGRAT were found there (more than 160 pieces!). And the interpretation of the letters leaves no doubt that it was a production of an imperial atelier.

According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Torbatov it functioned during the joint government of two emperors in the second half of the 4th century. Judging by the roof tiles it can be assumed that the two rulers gave the Roman city of Ratiaria the honorary title “Augusta”. The arguments of Dr. S. Torbatov are: “The abbreviation AVG (from Augusta) is obviously irrelevant to the emperors themselves. Otherwise it would be necessary to write the letter G once again. Therefore, it should refer to the last abbreviation in the stamp – RAT. No doubt it is about the name of one of the most important urban centers in the Roman Lower Danube province – Ratiaria”.The roof-tiles are dated to the period after 364-367 A.D. Then the last strong emperor, Flavius Valentinianus I ruled the Western part of Roman Empire. His brother Valens governed the eastern Roman provinces.

Will further evidence of this thesis be found? And what else shall we learn about the praetorium – this gorgeous road station for high-ranking travelers, located at the trans-Balkan road Ratiaria – Naissus? We are eager to know, because so far only two similar archaeological sites have been studied on the territory of Bulgaria: near the city of Kostinbrod (Sofia district) and by the village of Lometz (Troyan municipality). Unlike them, the Roman road station near the village of Granichak is better preserved and it is not disturbed by later construction activities.

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