New research at the Viminacium site in eastern Serbia, once capital of the Roman province of Moesia Superior, has made a remarkable find. As soon as archaeologists began their latest exploration of the city, they came across a unique object known as a wind chime ‘house guard’, in the shape of a winged phallus that served as a charm.
Frontier City of Western to Eastern Rome
Viminacium Archaeological Park is situated about 100km (70 miles) east of Belgrade by road, and was once one of the wealthy Illyrian cities of antiquity, later becoming an important capital city and military camp for the Roman Empire between the 1st and 4th centuries AD.
The site is vast and incorporates temples, thermal baths, the military camp, and the mausoleum of Emperor Hostilian, one of the shortest reigning emperors on record, only in position from around June to July 251 AD, before his untimely death.
More remarkable is the profusion of graves at the site, with over 14000 graves found there so far.
The original army camp grew and eventually became a significant city with a population estimated to be some 40,000 people. Viminacium had its own bathhouse and hippodrome, and it became the provincial capital of the important province of Moesia Superior. The city was destroyed by the Huns in the 5th century AD but was later re-built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. After a century of prosperity, the Slavs razed the city in the 7th century, and it was never reoccupied.
Archaeological research in…