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    An ancient temple was discovered under a church in Dalmatia

    An ancient, monumental temple dating back approx. 2,000 years was discovered by the Polish-Croatian researchers under the 18th century church in Danilo (Dalmatia), in the former Roman city of Ridit. The findings were made thanks to the use of GPR. A joint Polish-Croatian project has been underway at Danilo since 2019.

    The traced ancient structure has massive walls and a rectangular outline (approx. 20x10m). The entrance border was captured by the GPR, similarly to the entrance border. According to the scientists, the entrance is most likely in the form of the relics of the colonnade. These foundations are located under and next to the Church of St. Daniela in the village of Danilo, near the town of Šibenik.

    For years, in the vicinity of this 18th-century church, archaeologists have found numerous architectural elements and decorations from the décor of an unoccupied monumental Roman sacred building.

    “The collected data indicate that there are relics of the temple under today’s church and the adjacent cemetery. It was part of the forum, i.e. the most important part of every Roman city.”, PAP Polish research leader, Prof. Fabian Welc from the Institute of Archeology of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw said.

    The scientist emphasized that it was in the area of the forum that concentrated the socio-economic life of the inhabitants of each Roman municipality (city). This place was located at the intersection of the main communication arteries and was at the same time the focal point in the city. In addition to the temple, there were also the most important public buildings of the city, such as the court or the municipal office. The forum was additionally decorated with monuments and triumphal arches.

    Croatian project coordinator Dr. Ana Konestra added that, thanks to the large-scale geophysical prospection and the analysis of the airborne laser scanning model, a number of other Roman buildings were located in the vicinity of the modern cemetery in Danilo. According to archaeologists, they served mainly residential and economic functions.

    Next year, scientists plan to conduct archaeological research in the vicinity of the church to verify the findings of geophysical soundings. It is known that the current 18th-century church was built on the foundations of an earlier, small Romanesque Christian temple. And below it – according to the latest research – was the oldest Roman temple.

    Archaeologists have been researching Danilo for over 70 years. The first extensive works were related to the construction of the water supply. They brought finds in the form of, among others hundreds of Roman inscriptions, several of which mention Municipium Riditarum, an enigmatic city founded somewhere in the Danilo area by the local community of the Romanized Ridite tribe.

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