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Lower Danube: Reconstruction of East Gate at Abritus


The Roman fort at Abritus, located about 50 km south of the Danube in the ancient province of Moesia (present day Bulgaria), expanded gradually in size over the four centuries of its use. Some documentation on the fort's evolution is available, as the site was frequently mentioned by ancient Greek, Latin, Gothic, and Byzantine authors. At the end of the 1st century until AD 136, the legionary unit cohors II Lucensium settled in Abritus. A major battle took place there between the Goths and the Romans in AD 251, resulting in the death of the emperor Decius. The gates and walls were expanded during the reign of Constantine the Great (AD 306-327), and in 327 AD the walls totalled 1400 meters in length, surrounding a vast fortified area.

Excavations by Prof. Teofil Ivanov found decisive evidence that ancient Abritus lay at the modern town of Razgrad. Unfortunately, no remains of a related military camp have so far been discovered. Excavations in the central and the western part of the archaeological site have been limited by the presence of a modern factory. However, graphical reconstructions of the fort and walls are possible, based on ancient sources and regional military site comparisons (fig.1).

[Fig.1: A reconstruction of the East Gate at Abritus (J. Furkov 1985).]

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