School of History, Classics and Archaeology


The Salsovia Project: survey and excavation at a Late Iron Age Citadel, Black Sea Emporion and Roman Fort and settlement at Mahmudia, Romania

Here on the ancient St Gheorghe arm of the Danube, 30 kms east of the county town of Tulcea (ancient Greek Aegyssus) and 15 kms west of Murighiol (Roman Halmyris) lie an exceptionally well-preserved late Roman citadel/fort and, adjacent to it, a small town that was substantially abandoned by the end of the C3rd.

Three years preliminary research at Mahmudia/Salsovia including studying aerial photographs, extensive field walking, the construction of a digital terrain model, an 11 ha geophysical survey over both fort and environs accompanied by targeted excavation, refined research aims for the site and the region.

It demonstrated how a relatively small project could transform our understanding of both.

The project aims to:

Excavation throughout 2007 revealed extensive evidence for Iron Age activity on the plateau. It also yielded clear evidence for contact between the site and Greek colonies of the Black Sea coast less than 40km away.

Excavations in the area of the Late Roman fort were also revealing. They provided valuable new information about both the fort’s interior and its monumental defences.

Most spectacularly they demonstrated that the complex was abandoned after a major fire across the interior.

Interim reports