Ivo TOPALILOV / Nina TOLEVA / Georgi KAFELOV
(The University of Shumen, Sofia; Bulgaria)
Keywords: mosaic floors, early christian basilica, conservation, urban socialization
The Episcopal Basilica in Philippopolis, Tharce is the biggest Еarly Christian basilica not just in the territory of Thrace, but in Bulgaria. The building is specific for its size (80 metres long, 35 meters wide), and for its rich and intricate mosaic floorings which are a big challenge in terms of conservation, exponation and socialization. The archaeological remains are located in the lively urban centre of the contemporary city. Along the north side of the site runs a major transport artery, which not only hinders the option for the complete excavation and examination of the site, but also detains the exponation of the basilica as a whole. In addition, it hampers the process of conservation and socialization in the already excavated and studied parts of the building (the south aisle, the central nave, the narthex and the part, considered to be atrium). What is unique are the two overlaid mosaic floorings from two different construction periods that cover the nave and the narthex (with overall area of more than 700 square meters). The main objective is developing an innovative approach and suitable technology for separation, conservation, restoration and exponation in accordance to the contemporary principles of preservation. As a result in the current paper, the authors develop a possible solution for preservation and inclusion in the contemporary urban fabric of the archaeological remnants of the Episcopal Basilica, by taking into account all characteristics of the site, and strengthening the link between the ancient town and the modern city, and ensuring the vitality of the site.