Archaeological site Glac

The archaeological site Glac is located along the Sava river, 4 kilometres from Sremska Mitrovica, on the road to the village Jarak. In the late antiquity this space was on the outskirts (suburbum) of one of the capitals of the Roman Empire – Sirmium. The name Glac originates from a surname of an inhabitant of Sremska Mitrovica who purchased a field on this location and built a farm there. The toponym Glatz pst., short for Glatz puszta, meaning Glac’s Heath can be found on the late 19th century plans.

Photo 1 End of 19th century map displaying an estate named “Glatz pst.” Short for Glatz puszta. (source: Arcanum-Digitalized Historical Maps)Photo 1 End of 19th century map displaying an estate named “Glatz pst.” Short for Glatz puszta. (source: Arcanum-Digitalized Historical Maps)The earliest knowledge about the existence of an ancient site on Glac’s farm dates to 19th century. The local teacher and Sirmium researcher from Mitrovica, Ignjat Jung, is most renowned for these insights. He recorded the remains of Roman buildings on several locations and described the rooms decorated with luxurious, marble slabs and green porphyry. In one semi-circular room, he discovered a floor covered with a mosaic and bases and shafts of limestone columns. Jung made a site plan, noting a surface of 350 x 200 meters, surrounded by water channels, that looked like a military camp. He believed at that time that Glac’s farm was the site of the military camp of the Avar ruler (khagan) Bayan who besieged Sirmium at the end of the 6th century.

Photo 2 First Glac site plan on which Ignjat Jung marked places where the remains of Roman architecture were uncovered. (source: P. Milošević, Sirmium II, 1971, PL. XIII)Photo 2 First Glac site plan on which Ignjat Jung marked places where the remains of Roman architecture were uncovered. (source: P. Milošević, Sirmium II, 1971, PL. XIII)Further data on Roman finds originate from WWI. At that time, the whole area around the Sava River was crisscrossed with trenches and cannon positions of the Austro-Hungarian army. There is a record made by lieutenant Dragutin Trstenjak that reports about an 80-square meter mosaic discovered during digging of the defense trenches. Among other things, the report mentions that a sarcophagus and a head of a marble sculpture were also uncovered.

Unfortunately, up until the end of the 19th century there were no archaeological excavations. In that period a vast amount of the site was used for farming and some parts of the Roman villa were destroyed during the construction of the agricultural property. First research was carried out in 1994 on several locations. It was established that the site extends over several hundreds of meters. A wall of a large building that stretches over several tens of meters as well as rooms decorated with mosaics next to it were then uncovered.

Photo 3 Geophysical footage of the site from 2014 showing the existing walls underneath the ground (source: Glac Project)Photo 3 Geophysical footage of the site from 2014 showing the existing walls underneath the ground (source: Glac Project)Although the site was legally protected, research only began in 2014 with a geomagnetic survey of the surface of 4ha. The survey recording displayed the existence of the remains of a large building underneath the field that stretches over several hectares. Apart from the geophysical research, each year in late autumn, experts go field walking and collect the material that came up on the surface. Based on numerous finds of decorations made of luxurious marble and porphyry, it could be concluded that Glac is the site where a luxurious, late ancient building complex was built.

The gathered data indicate that a long-term and systematic research should be undertaken with the aim to examine the whole site and interpret its purpose using archaeological methods.

During ancient times, Sirmium was one of the largest urban centres on the territory of the Balkans, with an imperial palace built at the beginning of the 4th century. Apart from the imperial palace in the centre of Sirmium, historical sources mention that the Roman emperor Maximian Herculius built a palace near Sirmium. Given the site Glac lies in the vicinity of the ancient city, it is highly likely that the late-ancient building complex at the site is the palace that was described by Roman writers.

Photo 4 3d render of Glac site during excavations. View from the north. (source: Glac Project)Photo 4 3d render of Glac site during excavations. View from the north. (source: Glac Project)

Partners

  • Sidney University
  • arh institut eng

Supported by

  • muzej sremska mitrovica
  • sremska mitrovica zavod
  • ministarstvo kulture
  • australia
  • sremska mitrovica
  • sydney grammar school