(Croatian Conservation Institute, Zagreb, Croatia)


This presentation highlights difficulties of working in urban areas where life continuously goes on for many centuries. Besides a complicated stratigraphy, the problem is the existing infrastructure. The issue is presented through the specific example of archaeological research in the centre of Rijeka ( Pul Vele crikve Square) and the possibility of presentation of the excavated area.


During 2008/2009 the Croatian Conservation Institute performed a rescue archaeological research at the site Pul Vele crikve Square in the old town of Rijeka. Since the site is located within the Old Town urban complex and has protected cultural heritage status, it was necessary to perform archaeological research along with the scheduled replacement of existing municipal infrastructure. The area and the dynamics of research were considerably tailored to the needs of the construction works. An additional difficulty was the fact that this part of the Old Town’s pedestrian zone is exceptionally crowded; therefore a permanent pedestrian passage through the site had to be provided. In order to preserve the statics of surrounding buildings, larger excavated areas could not be left open for a longer period of time. Every few researched and documented quadrants had to be backfilled in order to proceed with the research.

Since it is a multilayer site, this presentation will focus on the oldest finds – the remains of Roman baths from 1st – 4th c. AD. Two construction phases have been identified. The old baths were built during the Flavian age and are less preserved. Based on discovered walls and floors, only six rooms have been identified but their exact purpose remains unknown. During the second half of 3rd century the baths were expanded or rather rebuilt in the same place. The old baths were levelled, and the new ones were built larger and improved with underfloor heating system. Ten rooms have been identified, as well as the purpose of some of them. The wall and underfloor heating system implies warm and hot rooms, i.e. two caldariums and one tepidarium. There is a frigidarium with a large pool of cold water to the east of the heated area.


roman baths, Rijeka-Tarsatica, rescue archaeology, urban archaeology