For the first time in Macedonia an Agora (central festival, meeting and market place) of an ancient city was discovered. Furthermore a unique measuring table and a fascinating female bust of Faustina were discovered during excavations.
The archaeologists were able to discover a large number of exclusive finds during this year’s archaeological excavations in Stibera.
First ancient Agora discovered
For the first time in an ancient site in Macedonia, an Agora was discovered, i.e. the place where trade was carried out, but also a place that served as the main square of the city. In this area, two marble measuring tables were found on which the products sold were measured, one for solid objects and the other for liquid products such as wine, milk and others. Such an impressive measuring table in this size and in such good condition has so far only been found in Pompeii, Italy.
“This measuring table has 8 hollow containers with different dimensions and different depths. One is for 10 liters, the other for 5, then for 3, 2, 1 liters. Likewise, measuring vessels for the units of measurement for 700 milliliters, 350 and 100 milliliters. The people who came here to sell or buy liquid food such as wine or milk poured the required liquid into the appropriate container, and after this procedure was confirmed by the Agoranomos (store manager) that it was really this liquid product acts in the appropriate quantity. When this amount for sale was confirmed, the liquid was released by removing a lid,” explains Dushko Temelkoski, Research Director at Stibera.
An altar was also discovered near these measuring tables, which, according to the inscription, was dedicated to the god Hermes, the protector of merchants.
Perhaps the most exclusive find is the marble bust of a woman believed to belong to Faustina, the wife of the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius, who ruled in the middle of the 2nd century AD. It is the time of greatest prosperity in and of Stibera. Faustina is known in historiography as Faustina the Elder.
“His wife Faustina died relatively young, at the age of 40, in October 140 AD. As I have already mentioned, the year 142 is on this measuring table for liquids. So if I compare, here is the year 140 somewhere, when Faustina the wife of Emperor Antonius Pius passed. When Faustina died, her husband, Emperor Antonius Pius, declared her a diva. In the ancient Roman Empire, a woman was declared a diva after her death and was classified as a deity,” Temelkoski added.
The Macedonian archaeologists hope that next year the state will provide funds for increased mining of Stibera and the preservation of this part of the site such as the Agora.
Stibera ancient site
The archaeological site of Stibera is located in the northern part of Pelagonija, near the village of Chepigovo (municipality of Prilep). The location is on the “Black River”, the Crna Reka.
Stibera has existed since the 3rd century BC. to 3rd century AD. It is estimated that over 20,000 people lived in the city of Stibera at the time of the greatest boom.
So far, numerous sculptures have been excavated in Stibera and placed in the temple of the goddess of fate Tyche/Fortuna. Some of the discovered statues are in the museum in Prilep, in the museums in Skopje and some were exhibited in front of the Macedonian government building.
It is believed that the excavations so far have uncovered only 1-2% of the city’s archaeological treasure. In 2006, a large life-size sculpture was discovered in Stibera, the head of which was then cut off and stolen. An ancient gymnasium (sports facility) was also discovered in the city.
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