Important archaeological explorations
- Archaeological explorations of the site Suva Chesma (necropolis Trebenishta) near the village Gorenci, Ohrid, 1953/1954 (archaeologists: Vasil Lahtov from the National Museum – Ohrid and Joze Kastelic from Ljubljana, Slovenia). Searching for valuable golden and bronze archaeological finds (golden masks, gloves, bronze craters etc, matching those discovered by the Bulgarians in 1918 and those discovered by the Serbs in the period between 1930 and 1934. This time 23 so-called poor graves were discovered with modest grave goods, but still with archaeological importance: bronze double needles, bronze arched fibulae, bronze bracelets etc. The necropolis Trebenihsta dates from the 7th – 4th c. B.C., with emphasis on the 6th – 5th c. B.C. (the period when the golden masks and the other valuable finds were discovered).
- Archaeological explorations of the site Trebenishko Kale (east of the village Trebenishta) 1953/1954 (archaeologist Vasil Lahtov). Graves from the Macedonian-Hellenic necropolis have been discovered with the following goods: golden earrings – “golabici”, golden earrings with Negroid heads, ceramic dishes etc. These finds date from the period between 3rd and 2nd c. B.C.
- Archaeological excavations of the site Crvenica – Prentov Most near the village Openica (15 km on the northeast of Ohrid) 1957 – 1959 (archaeologist Vasil Lahtov). Macedonian-Hellenic necropolis (3rd – 2nd c. B.C.) and early medieval necropolis (11th – 12th c.) Finds from the Macedonian-Hellenic period: golden earrings with Negroid heads, pendants etc.
- Archaeological excavations on the site Biljanini izvori, on the eastern end of Ohrid where a three-nave early Christian basilica with mosaic floors dating from the 5th or 6th c. was discovered. The excavations and the conservation and restoration work were performed in the period from 1957 to 1968-1971 (arcaheologists: Vasil Lahtov, Vera Bitrakova, Vlado Malenko).
- Antique theater in Varos - Ohrid (1960 – 1962). First archaeological excavations performed by the National museum of Ohrid which located this performance building constructed in the 2nd c. B.C. and later adjusted for the needs of the roman society in the 2nd c. AD. (an arena for gladiatorial combats has been constructed as well as cages for the wild animals). During these first excavations, among other finds, there was also the famous miniature theatrical mask made of ivory. The archaeological excavations were conducted by the archaeologist Vasil Lahtov.
- Archaeological excavations on Imaret (Plaoshnik) 1964-1967-1971 when an early Christian polyconch church was discovered (tetraconch) with remains of magnificent mosaic decorations on the floor. This monumental early Christian temple is located some 10 m. north of St. Clement's church "St. Panteleimon”. The archaeological actions as well as the conservation and restoration work were performed by the National museum - Ohrid and the Institute for preservation of cultural monuments - Ohrid. The explorations were conducted by Vera Bitrakova and Vlado Malenko, and the conservation and restoration work was performed by the architect Todor Paskali.
- Preventive archaeological excavations of the site Zgrada fond II in Karabegomala (Ohrid plains) 1967. During the process, remains of a temple of the goddess Isis were discovered as well as two statues of the goddess: one dating from the 3rd c. BC and the other from the roman period (2nd c. AD). The explorations were performed by the Institute for preservation of cultural monuments – Ohrid and the excavations were conducted by the archaeologist Vlado Malenko.
- Preventive archaeological excavations of the sites Tri Cheljusti and Vrtuljka near the village Gorenci, 12 km. north of Ohrid 1972 (necropolis Trebenishta). These explorations were performed because of the construction of the Skopje-Kicevo-Ohrid road. 27 graves and grave entities were discovered along with grave goods: bronze bracelets with folded ends, double bronze needles - furkets, bronze fibulae Asia Minor type, iron spears, fragmented or whole ceramic dishes etc, dating from the second iron age, that is the period between 7th and 5th c. BC. The activities were performed by the Institute for preservation of cultural monuments and the explorations were conducted by Vlado Malenko.
- Archaeological excavations of the sites St. Erasmus, Gabavci, and Kozluk during 1974-1975. During the performance of these activities, undertaken because of the construction of the Skopje-Kicevo-Ohrid road, a three-nave early Christian basilica was discovered (5th-6th c.) and a late antique – early mediaeval necropolis with exceptionally significant grave goods: bronze torkves, earrings, arched fibulae, pendants, ceramic dishes etc, dating from the 4th, 7th – 8th and 11th – 12th c. On the site Gabavci remains of profane buildings were discovered, and on the site Kozluk remains of villa rustica (4th c. AD).
- Stara Charsija (Old Bazaar) - Ohrid 1975-1977. Preventive archaeological excavations were performed at four points. During the process were discovered: cultural layers from the iron age, Macedonian-Hellenic graves, antique furnace for baking bricks (opeki). The explorations were performed by the Institute and Museum – Ohrid and the excavations were conducted by the archaeologist Vlado Malenko.
- Antique theater in Varos (Ohrid) 1977. Archaeological explorations on the western and northern part of the auditorium. Several rows of stone seats were discovered in a small area. The explorations were conducted by the archaeologist Vlado Malenko.
- Archaeological excavations of the site Deboj (Ohrid) in 1978-1979. A large part of the central necropolis in Lychnidos was discovered containing graves of the Macedonian-Hellenic period (3rd – 2nd c.BC) and graves from the roman period (1st – 3rd c. AD). On the western side of this area remains of an early Christian three-nave basilica with mosaic floors in the narthex were discovered. The explorations were performed by the Institute and Museum – Ohrid and the excavations were conducted by the archaeologist Vlado Malenko.
- Antique theater in Varos (Ohrid) 1984-1985. Archaeological explorations on the western and northern part of the theatron (auditorium). The actions were performed by the Institute for preservation of cultural monuments and the National museum – Ohrid with the assistance of brigadiers in working actions and the soldiers of the Ohrid garrison. The explorations were conducted by the archaeologist Vlado Malenko.
- Archaeological excavation of the site Kozluk (on the exit of Ohrid leading to Struga) in 1983-1984. Parts of villa rustica were discovered and also remains of thermae and rooms comprising the House of love which was a part of this roman villa dating from the 4th c. The explorations were performed by the Institute and Museum - Ohrid and the excavations were conducted by the archaeologists Vlado Malenko and Pasko Kuzman..
- Systematic archaeological explorations of Neolithic site Dolno Trnovo in 1986. These explorations were part of the project "Neolith and Eneolith in Southwestern Macedonia", realized by the Institute and Museum- Ohrid, Institute, Museum and Gallery – Bitola and Institute and Museum – Prilep. During this explorations remains of prehistoric (Neolithic) houses were discovered and numerous fragments of ceramic dishes and flint and stone tools. The explorations were conducted by: Pasko Kuzman, Dragica Simovska and Blagoja Kitanovski.
- Archaeological explorations of the site Zlastrana near the village Gorno Sredorece (Debarca), Ohridsko, 1988. During the process cultural layers of one of the oldest Neolithic settlements in Macedonia were discovered. The activities were performed by the Institute and Museum - Ohrid and the explorations were conducted by the archaeologist Pasko Kuzman.
- Archaeological explorations of the site Kutlina near the village Velmej, Ohrid, 1990-1992. Remains of eneolithic settlement were discovered (copper age) with a significant archaeological movable material dating from that period. The activities were performed by the Institute and Museum - Ohrid and the explorations were conducted by the archaeologist Pasko Kuzman.
- Systematic archaeological excavations in the area of the higher hill of Ohrid as part of the project “The urbanization of Lychnidos” During the process the vertical stratigraphy of the area around the citadel (Samuil’s Fortress) was being explored and the ancient Macedonian grave of the site “Karagulevci” was being explored, located in immediate proximity west of the Antique theater. The activities were coordinated by the Faculty of Philosophy – Ohrid, and the Institute and Museum-Ohrid, and the explorations were conducted by: Ph.D.Vera Bitrakova Grozdanova, Vlado Malenko, Pasko Kuzman and Nada Pochucha Kuzman.
- Underwater archaeological explorations of the site Ploca Mikov Grad in the Bay of Bones near the Gradishte peninsula (village Peshtani) on the shores of Lake Ohrid in the period between 1997 and 2005. During the process remains of a prehistoric (bronze-iron age) palafitte settlement was discovered on the bottom of the lake. As a result of the exploration 6000 wooden poles stuck in the bottom were discovered as well as a very important archaeological material of the production of ceramics of that age. The activities were under the supervision of the Institute and Museum - Ohrid and they were performed by the Club for underwater activities “Ohrid” from Ohrid. Supervisor of the underwater archaeological explorations was the archaeologist Pasko Kuzman, and the leader of the divers’ team was Milutin Sekulovski – Miko.
- Plaoshnik 1999 – 2002. Revisionist and systematic excavations of the area around the church of St. Clement Panteleimon, as part of the project "Renewal of the St. Clement's church “St. Panteleimon on Plaoshnik in Ohrid”. Over 2000 graves dating from the 9th – 15th century were discovered, and a complete monumental early Christian basilica with an atrium on the northern side, a narthex with a mosaic floor in the western part and a baptistery with a magnificent mosaic ornaments on the floor. St. Clement’s church which is located in the central part of the basilica was restored over the same foundations and it was dedicated on August 11, 2002. The renewal was performed by the realization of the project of the archaeologist Todor Paskali (the father) and the archaeologist Tanja Paskali (his daughter). The director of the archaeological explorations was Vlado Malenko under supervision of the Board for the renewal of the church (presided by the academic Krum Tomovski) and coordination of Pasko Kuzman. The overall work was realized by the Institute for preservation of cultural monuments and the National museum – Ohrid.
- Antique theater 1999 - 2001. In this period the most extensive archaeological excavations so far were performed, which revealed the complete theatron, the diazome and most of the arena. Conservation and restoration were also carried out, and the presentation was performed along with the opening of Ohrid summer festival 2001 and the spectacle “Macedonian Odyssey 2001” directed by Ivan Popovski. Several individual residential buildings were relocated in order to realize all this. The archaeological explorations gave very valuable results; an epigraphic monument was discovered representing a basic display of the name of the city Lychnidos, as well as 280 graves and grave constructions and the remains of two churches - one in the southwestern part, and the other in the northeastern part of the site. The actions were performed by the Institute and Museum – Ohrid and the archaeological explorations were conducted by the archaeologist Vlado Malenko. The conservation project was elaborated by Ph.D. Jasminka Hadzieva Aleksievska and Ph.D. Mihail Tokarev from the Faculty of Architecture – Skopje. The illumination project was elaborated by the “Blakom” company – Skopje.
- Samuil’s fortress/citadel 2000-2002. Very extensive systematic archaeological explorations were carried out in the area of the citadel and six water cisterns were discovered, numerous remains of buildings dating from the Macedonian-Hellenic period, late antiquity and early medieval period, as well as remains of Dzeladin bey's sarai in the southern half. At the same time conservation and restoration of the ramparts and the towers of the citadel was carried out, and a larger part of the complex "Gorna Porta" was also restored. The actions were performed by the Institute and Museum – Ohrid and the archaeological explorations were conducted by the archaeologist Pasko Kuzman. The conservation activities were coordinated by the architect Elena Kockovska.
- Gorna Porta Ohrid 2001 – 2002. archaeological explorations in the area on the exterior and interior side east of Gorna Porta which resulted with discovery of 145 graves and tombs with abundant grave goods dating from the archaic, Macedonian-Hellenic and roman period. Here for the first time in Ohrid the oldest entombments were discovered (6th – 4th c. BC) and in the grave N. 132 a golden mask was discovered, a golden glove and some seventy other golden silver, bronze, iron, ceramic and amber objects. The activities were realized as part of the project “Conservation and restoration of Samoil’s fortress in Ohrid”, performed by Institute and Museum - Ohrid and the explorations were conducted by Pasko Kuzman.
- Deboj 2, 2001. Archaeological explorations in the area next to the northern rampart on the exterior side, in the interior side of the most exposed northern part of the suburban area of the fortress, along the eastern rampart on the exterior side around the gate dating from the Turkish period and south of Dolna Porta along the rampart on the interior side, in the eastern part of St. Mother of God Bolnicka' s churchyard. During the process graves with grave goods were discovered dating from the roman and medieval period, as well as remains from Tashula’s sarai (?), constructed by Dzeladin bey in the first half of the 19th c. (in the interior of the most exposed part of the fortress looking towards Deboj to the north). The activities were realized as part of the project “Conservation and restoration of Samoil’s fortress in Ohrid”, performed by the Institute and Museum - Ohrid and the explorations were conducted by Ph.D. Vera Bitrakova Grozdanova.
- Plaoshnik 2003 – 2005. Archaeological explorations west of the narthex of the monumental three-nave basilica and accompanying explorations under the mosaic floors in the narthex and the baptistery. Conservation actions: lifting, cleaning and placing a new base on the mosaic surface in the baptistery of the basilica, and also placing a preventive cover construction over the old one. The activities were performed by NU Institute and Museum – Ohrid, and the archaeological explorations and the conservation work were conducted by the archaeologist Nada Pochucha Kuzman and the architect Tanja Paskali Buntasheska.
- Samuil’s fortress 2003-2005. Smaller archeological explorations in one area of the citadel as well as conservation and restoration of the central rampart which divides the citadel in two. The activities were performed by NU Institute and Museum – Ohrid, the archaeological explorations were conducted by the archeologist Pasko Kuzman and the conservation and restoration of the central rampart – by the architect Elena Kockoska.
- Preventive archaeological explorations along the street “Tzar Samuil” and in the area south of St. Sophia. On “Tzar Samoil” street the following findings were evidenced: a base made of massive stone plaques near Dolna Porta, which probably was the base of the street and the gate dating from the 4th c., 1,15 m. lower than the one standing today (a project elaborated and financed by a German company aided the presentation of the stone base by placing a metal net); remains from an early Christian basilica were discovered near the churches Bolnicki; a rampart wall was discovered leading from the Robevci Museum to the Savinoci house in an oblique line; near the church St. Nikola Gerakomija a vaulted object (late antique tomb) is discovered; south of St. Sophia, on the small square in front of the Boevci’s family houses, massive walls with frescoes and other marks are discovered, which indicate that the remains of the building with painted walls are actually parts of the archbishopric palace of the Ohrid Archbishopric. The finds are protected by a covering high-strength concrete plaque. The activities were performed by the Institute and Museum - Ohrid and the excavations were conducted by the archaeologist Pasko Kuzman.
- Church of “All Saints”, 15th c. 2005. Accompanying archaeological excavations in the area surrounding the church. During the process graves were discovered, estimated to be dating not earlier than the 13th c. There were also discovered remains of an older church under the foundations of the church dating from the15th c., built with stone and lime mortar. The apse of the old church has three supportive pillars discovered as eaves. The southern parts of the old church have been destroyed with the future construction of additional rooms of the church dating from the 15th c. built with stone and mud. The objective of these excavations was to liberate the church of the piled soil which acted as a source of moisture which was penetrating the interior and damaging the frescoes. The activities were performed by the Institute and Museum – Ohrid and the explorations were conducted by the archaeologist Pasko Kuzman.
- Vevcani, site Sredselo, 2005. During usual cultivation of the land remains of a sacral building and a necropolis were unexpectedly discovered. The archaeological exploration has brought to a conclusion that there is a monumental five-nave basilica with three apses in question, the construction of which started in 1895 (a plaque with an inscription was discovered, which had been placed along with the foundation stone), its construction was continued in the 20th c. (1927 – 1928), but in 1947 it was demolished and covered with soil. The activities were performed by the Institute and Museum – Ohrid and the explorations were conducted by the archaeologist Pasko Kuzman.
- Archaeological excavations of the site “St.Chetirieset machenici (Forty martyrs)” by the street “Boro Shain”, south of the Alchevci’s house, 2005-2007. During the process cultural layers in the interior of the one-nave small church were discovered with the presence of medieval graves from the 13th c. and other mobile archaeological finds. The activities were performed by NU Institute and Museum – Ohrid, and the archaeological explorations were conducted by Vlado Malenko, Milan Ivanovski and Sarita Karpuzova.
- Plaoshnik 2007. Extensive systematical archaeological excavations in all areas south, west north and northeast of the renewed St. Clemet’s church “St. Panteleimon” and the three-nave basilica surrounding it (1999 – 2002). These excavations are one of the phases of the mega-project “The renewal of St. Clement's university on Plaoshnik in Ohrid”. The explorations revealed cultural layers of the bronze age (ceramics with matt paintings), iron age (pits of ceramic fragments and so-called “Macedonian bronzes”), Macedonian-Hellenic and roman period (numerous ceramic objects, marble plastics, bronze figurines of Daedalus, Dionysus, Zeus etc), late antique and early Byzantine period (ceramics, enameled objects etc.), objects from the early middle ages, high middle ages, late middle ages, up until the first half of the 20th c. At the same time conservation activities have been undertaken upon the discovered mosaic surfaces in different places of the area. The activities are performed by NU Institute and Museum – Ohrid conducted by Ph.D. Vera Bitrakova Grozdanova, and with the financial support of the Direction for preservation of the cultural heritage, an organ of the Ministry of culture of the Republic of Macedonia (provided by the Budget of the Republic of Macedonia for 2007, program 2B). This project is supervised by the Board for the Renewal of St. Clement's University (its president is the rector of the University of Skopje Ph.D. Gjorgi Martinovski). The project coordinator is Pasko Kuzman.
Recorded by: Pasko Kuzman