A female marble portrait from Dyrrachium
The excavation of 2016 in the urban centre of Dyrrachium brought to light architectural remains of an important late Roman monumental building. The discovered structure consists of a stretch of wall preserved up to 3.40 m height from the original floor level and a cross-shaped pilaster, both built with fine quality brickwork, measuring 1.40 m in width. A mortar floor (P 051: Fig. 1), of the same phase to both brick walls, may have been paved with marble slabs. The façade of the wall shows traces of a thin layer (1 cm) of wall plaster, painted perhaps in three different colours. A second construction phase is documented by structural changes of a higher floor level (P 050) and marble revetment as a new decoration of the wall. The stratified units connected with the construction of the monument are not yet sufficiently documented and studied. However, analysis on its chronological and topographical significance can be discussed based on the available architectonic details. Comparison with architectural remains at other sites in ancient Dyrrachiu as well as in the wider Mediterranean context suggests that the brickwork architecture
may have been part of an important palatial complex or a bath house in a dominating position of the late antique public centre (Fig. 2). We are quite well informed about the later use of the space within the architecture excavated in 2016. Soon after the abandonment of the second phase, the space was used – on a different occupation level – as a graveyard that can be dated to the early 7th century. In addition the documentation of the stratigraphy above that level provides valuable evidence for the continuous use of this space in three succeeding occupation levels and three graveyards, spanning the time from the 7th to the early 16th century.