Research of the Old Town of Bar
First systematic research of the Old Town of Bar began in 1950’s. The town was archaeologically excavated on several occasions, which resulted in capital monograph “Stari Bar”, of author prof. Đurđe Bošković, to date the most comprehensive work on history and building analysis in the town. Within it, the town was divided into blocks, and each object was given a number, which become a generally accepted nomenclature for all following scientific work that deals with history, architecture or archeology of the town.
After a devastating earthquake in 1979, in which all the buildings were severely damaged, and a number of them completely destroyed, in the 1980s, a great project of recovery and restoration of the town began. Fortifications and objects for which, based on authentic documentation, it was possible to make a reconstruction project were completely or partially reconstructed. This included: The Customs House, Gunpowder House, Citadel, Aqueduct, The Inner Gate, St. John Church, Palace, St. Veneranda Church, Clock Tower, Hamam, St. Ilarion Church and The Episcopal Palace. The reconstruction was led by former curator, archaeologist Omer Peročević in cooperation with relevant state institutions.
New curator, mr Mladen Zagarčanin, introduced a modern approach to systematic research and restoration. In the first decade of the XXI century, as a result of international cooperation with eminent world universities and experts, and under the direction of Old Town curator, several archaeological campaigns were performed, which results were presented in monographs and numerous scientific articles.
Archaeological campaign 2001
Excavation using trenches were conducted in objects 8, 15, 167-168. Within object 8, a 4 x 2m trench was excavated, along the southern part of St. Catherina Church. Research has shown great stratification, which ranges from XI to XIX Century. The most significant results were obtained in layers 2, 3, 4 and 5. In layer 5, a certain quantity of glazed and transport vessels dated in V – VI Century were discovered. Within the same layer, ceramics from XI – XII Century was found, with a grave from the same period. In layer 3, a certain quantity of ceramics dated from the end of XIII to beginning of XV Century was found. These are examples of south-italic and Venetian vessels; “proto majolika brindisina” “RMR” (Ramina-roso-manganese), “Ruoulet were”, “Spirale cerchio” and “majolica archaic” as well as types of vessels “San Bartolo”. In addition to these very luxurious dishes for this epoch, a large amount of fireplace dishes that were made on a slow winch and by hand was found. Most significant layer is layer 2, where shavings from ashlar carving were found, which was used for construction of church from the end of XIV – beginning of XV Century, which helped determine the chronology of church construction. Layer 1 contained mixed material related to Venetian-Ottoman period, dated from XVI to XIX Century.
Object 15 was entirely systematically excavated. This led to determination of stratigraphy, dated from XV to XIX Century. In addition from money from Kotor and Bar, large number of metal and glass finds, two ceramic forms produced in Venice were found, such as: “grafita rinascimentale”, “punta a steca”, “punta sottile” and “beretina”. From Ottoman products, most commonly found were dishes painted on engobe and terracotta, dominantly jugs and pithos.
During the research of object 167, a layer with late – antique and early – Byzantine ceramics was excavated, in particular fragments of North – African amphorae, such as Africana I-III, Tripolitanian and Late Roman 1 type. This layer was closed by some destruction events in first half of VII Century. In second layer, that was formed long after these events, material from Spanish and Venetian workshops from second half of XV Century were found.
Archaeological campaign 2003
During protective excavations due to works on instalment of illumination, tranches were opened from object 112 to object 106 (Church of St. John). Within it, a layer from Middle Bronze Age was found, with large amount of ceramics from this period. It was located under the early Byzantine pavement, dated with amphorae from this period. As well, large quantities of Otranto 1 and 3 amphora types were found, dating from X to XI Century.
Archaeological campaign 2004
Archaeological research in 2004 were conducted in cooperation with University Primorska from Koper (Slovenia) and University Ca’ Foscari from Venice. Most important result of the campaign was determination of absolute chronology of the Citadel. Two phases of the Citadel which existed in XIII and XIV Century were singled out as a refugium, with a powerful rampart to the west and Citadel that emerged in XV Century, the one visible today with number of remodeling and extensions. Over 60 stratigraphic units have been discovered, that speak about usage of this object for a long period of time, until XIX Century.
Archaeological campaign 2005
This campaign was as well conducted in cooperation with Universities from Koper and Venice, including students from Madrid, Skoplje and Belgrade that were implementing archaeometric measurements and professors from University of Cambridge in charge of archaeozoology studies. Object 112B that represents south-east Byzantium tower was excavated. Large quantity of ceramics was found within the object, including Slavic pottery from VIII-IX Century, Byzantine glazed pottery from X Century and large amount of frescoes of the same period. Excavations were as well conducted in objects 8b and 45.
Archaeological campaign 2006
During systematic excavations of buildings 143-146, carried out in cooperation with Universities from Venice, Cambridge and Belgrade, the area that was used continuously from Early Bronze Age to XIX Century was finally defined. Most important information were gathered from first layers, where protocetin facies of Ljubljana culture was clearly confirmed, with large amount of material dating from 2500 to 2000 years B.C.
In objects 146 and 145, a medieval cemetery from the end of XII and the beginning of XIII Century was found, as well as the remains of the church. All architectural measurements of preserved walls were performed, where stratigraphy showed a great number of remodeling and rebuilding which date back to the end of the XIV Century. In addition to insula houses, objects 8a, 9a, 9b and 10, located in southern part of the Town, were completely excavated. Huge layering allowed interpretations about formation of objects agglomeration. Most important results relate to findings of carbonated palisade timbers, dated into XIII Century by C14 analyses, which showed that the south rampart was initially made of wooden timbers, destroyed in a major fire, which, according to assumptions, could have been associated with conquer of Mongols in 1242.
Archaeological campaign 2008-2009
During archaeological campaign that connected two phases, on part of the building 136, known as “Prince’s Palace” was excavated. This led to conclusion that it was initially a military building, a tower from XIV Century, which was rebuild and extended in XV and XVI Century. Military building was transformed into a residential building, which eventually became one of most prominent palaces in Town. Large amount of material from Ottoman period testifies of time when the house was owned by Omerbašić family. Objects 100 and 101 were as well excavated, located right next to the southern part of Citadel, resulting in very few archaeological finds. Significant find from these objects was workshop for production of olive oil, which significantly improved understanding of how olives were decanted in XVIII and XIX Century.
Bibliography of the Old Town of Bar:
- Agović, B. 2001. Džamije u Crnoj Gori, Podgorica: Almanah.
- Bar, grad pod Rumijom, grupa autora (Hrabak, B. et al.), Izbor: Bar.
- Bošković, Đ. 1939. Izveštaj o ispitivanjima srednjevekovnih spomenika na Južnom Primorju. Spomenik SKA, 88, n.s. 69, 3-4
- Bošković, Đ. 1958. Problemi urbanizacije dukljansko-crnogorskog primorja u srednjem veku. Istorijski zapisi, Podgorica, XI, vol. XIV/1-2
- Boskovic, Dj. 1962. Stari Bar. Beograd: Vojno štamparsko preduzeće Beograd.
- Bošković, T. 2005. Bar pod mletačkom vlašću 1443-1571. godine, B. Polje.
- Gelichi, S., Guštin, M. 2005. Stari Bar: the archaeological project 2004, Preliminary report. Firenze: All’Insegna del Giglio.
- Gelichi, S., Bagato, C. 2006. The Archaeology of an Abandoned Town: The 2005 Project in Stari Bar. Firenze: All’Insegna del Giglio.
- Gelichi, S. 2008. A Town Through the Ages: The 2006-2007 Archaeological Project in Stari Bar. Firenze: All’Insegna del Giglio.
- Gelichi, S. (ed.) 2011. Analizzare lo spazio, analizare il tempo: La storia di un isolato di Stari Bar. Firenze: All’Insegna del Giglio.
- Guštin, M., Bikić, V., Mileusnić, Z. 2008. Ottoman times: the story of Stari Bar. Koper: Univerza na Primorskem, Znanstveno-raziskovalno središče, Založba Annales.
- Gelichi, S. e Zagarčanin, M 2013, Storie di una citta’, Stari Bar tra antichita ed epoca moderna attraverso le ricerche archarologiche, Firence.
- Gelichi, S. e SAbbionesi L, 2013, Bere e fumare ai confini dell’ Impero, cafe e tabacco a Stari Bar nell periodo ottomano, Firence. .
- Istorija Crne Gore 2, 1970. grupa autora, tom 1 i 2, Titograd.
- Katanić. N., Gojković, M., 1961. Građa za pročavanje starih kamenih mostova i akvadukata u Srbiji, Makedoniji i Crnoj Gori, Beograd.
- Korać,1965. Graditeljska škola Pomorja, Beograd.
- Mijović, P. i Kovačević, M. 1975. Gradovi i utvrđenja u Crnoj Gori. Beograd: Arheološki institut i Ulcinj: Muzej Ulcinj.
- Mijović, P. 1995. Iz kulturne prošlosti Bara, Bar: J.P. Kulturni centar Bar.
- Marković, I. 1902. Dukljansko-barska metropolija,
- Marković, S. 2006. Studia Antibarensia, Perast: Gospa od Škrpjela.
- Marković, Č. i Vujičić, R. 1997. Cultural Monuments of Montenegro. Novi Sad: Presmedij.
- Peričić A., 2010. Tragovi prošlosti u Starom Baru i njegova zaštita i revitalizacija, Almanah 48-49, Podgorica, str. 15-36.
- Programske osnove za Stari grad Bar.
- Rovinski, A. P., 1993. Crna Gora u prošlosti i sadašnjosti, 1, Cetinje- Sremski Karlovci, Novi Sad.
- Zagarčanin, M. 2004. Stari Bar: Keramika venecijanskog doba. Koper. Annales Mediterranea.
- Zagarčanin, M. 2008. Stari grad Bar, vodič kroz vjekove. Bar: Kulturni centar Bar.