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Veliki Gradac – Taliata

The fortification at the site Veliki Gradac near Donji Milanovac (Taliata) was situated about 2 km upstream from Porecka reka in the immediate vicinity of Paprenica stream. It was constructed about 200-250 meters from the river bank at strategically very important position. There were a few archeological campaigns: 1958, 1960-1962, 1965 but only in 1966 the excavations of considerable extent were undertaken. During the excavations four architectural horizons were recorded. The fortification was of almost square shape – 134 x 126 meters. It seems that rather small fortification (50 x 40 m) recorded at thesite of Mali Gradac in the immediate vicinity, was an older fortification preceding the fortification at Veliki Gradac.

Rampart dating from the 1st century, the earliest horrenum and a few incompletely excavated structures in the south and central area of the camp belong to the first architectural horizon. The stone wall was 0.9 – 1 m thick. According to some structural elements it seems that this fortification had an earthen and timber walkway (chemin-de-ronde) which indicates that the first fortification was built of stone combined with timber and earth.
The second horizon is characterized by much solid wall about 2 meters thick. The paved streets were connecting south and north as well as east and west gate. The gates were sttrengthened by the rectangular towers. At the corners there were interior towers of trapezoid plan. On the north wall, between the corner towers and the gate, there was at each section one rectangular tower with external reinforcement. Judging by the discovered roof tiles the rectangular towers by the gate had a roof cover. In the interior only a horreum and one more structure were uncovered. This second phase dates from the second half of the 3rd century. It is suggested by the numismatic finds and some structural features of walls and towers, like for instance, the use of 2-3 or even 4 layers of bricks. The destruction of this Late Roman fortification was the consequence of the Hunnish invasion in the first decades of the 5th century.

The construction of the third fortification was related to the restoration of the Danube frontier at the beginning of the Iustinian’s reign (527 – 565). The walls were restored, rectangular towers were reconstructed and all gates except the north one were closed. New, round towers of larger size were erected at the corners. The new horreum with porch was built by the north gate and by the west gate which was transformed into a baptistery the new singleaisled church with narthex and annex was constructed. The third fortification at Veliki Gradac was destroyed by a large conflagration that could be related with the Avaric military operations during 595 and 596.

The forth and final architectural horizon dates from the 11th-12th centuries. At that time the walls were restored and a large cemetery consisting on the ruins of the Early Byzantine basilica.

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